Tag Archives: Fountain

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:

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.

Related

22 Weeks of World War Bee

One of our Keepstars has gone missing.

The Imperium Keepstar in K-6K16, one of the systems on the Doomclock, was allowed to unanchor at an unplanned time and NCDot swooped in and scooped it up. By the time anybody noticed what was going on it was too late to do much besides try to shoot the freighter carrying it off, which failed.  PAPI gets some pay back for losing a titan and a super on their own Keepstar in T5ZI-S last week I guess.

Still, that didn’t stop the PAPI team from losing more expensive stuff.  They managed to get another titan blown up, a Ragnarok that for some reason though it was a good idea to jump the gate into 1DQ1-A.  At least they can claim they were attacking something.

Then there was the more than 20 billion ISK TEST Legion that got caught.  Gating BPOs into hostile territory is probably not the brightest of plans.

Also in the news was PandaFam member Fraternity who, after CCP came in with the botting patrol to ban players and take back ill gotten gains, found their executor corporation 1 trillion ISK in the negative for the corp wallet.  They didn’t just lose a trillion ISK, the balance was negative 1 trillion ISK.

Delve Front

Delve is still where most of the action is.

The view from 1DQ1-A

The back and forth continues across the T5Z-1DQ gap.  Small fights and ganks of opportunity occur pretty much from the start of EU prime time to well into the Australian time zone.  That means there is always an opportunity to shoot something if you’re game.   However, you might be hard pressed to find any meaningful big objectives, if that is what you want out of a war.  No Guinness World Records are going to fall in this situation.

Delve – Dec. 6, 2020

And, of course, I took a moment to mark where an incursion was taking place, then it was finished before this post went live.

Other Theaters

Querious remains what it is, the main side show, but still a side show.  The Imperium managed to take the ihub in P-ZMZV which snapped the jump bridge network supporting PAPI’s supply lines into Delve.  They’ll work around it quickly enough, but it was an annoyance.

According to the EVE Scout Storm Tracker there is a metaliminal storm in ES-Q0W down in the southern part of the zone.  It is an electrical storm, which according to the info I posted back when they were introduced, is the type that prohibits cloaking.

Querious – Dec. 6, 2020

That will probably suppress any activity around there, but it would be amusing if it rolled into Delve.

Proof that there isn’t enough going on in Delve?  I think the fact PandaFam decided to actually start their promised re-invasion of Fountain is a convincing argument in favor of that.

There is also a metaliminal storm wandering Fountain… it has been there for weeks, but since something is happening there I might as well put it on the map.

Fountain – Dec. 6, 2020

The storm is of the exotic variety that boosts scanning and warp speed while debuffing reps and kinetic resists.  It has a long way to go to reach Delve, but it started back in Cloud Ring, so it could get there.

And then there is Esoteria, where the Army of Mango Alliance has been pushing back on the Imperium and Stain Russian forces that have been attacking the area.

NW Esoteria – Dec. 6, 2020

AOM has been working at it, but systems keep changing hands and the core defense of the interlopers remains strong.  The Imperium and the Stain Russians also managed to knock off three supers, a jump freighter, and a Rorqual that Siberian Squads had nearby in Catch.

My Participation

After my Thanksgiving holiday gaming binge I had to get back to focusing on work.  That meant less play time on all fronts, but I still managed to get a couple of ops in and got on a few more kill mails to prove I still exist.  I also managed to jump through the T5Z-1DQ gate just as PAPI was massing for a quick jab and managed to lose my Ares, so I will add that to my loss tally for the way.

It was only then that I realized that I was in a pod with implants, but I managed to warp off and jump out the other gate and get to a station that would let me put on an Ibis.  I sacrificed that to get to Helm’s Deep and the Ansiblex home, but I am not counting rookie ships.

So my loss total now stands at:

  • 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 made a few tweaks to the Dynamic Bounty System and mandatory ESS changes introduced last month.  They are:

Dynamic Bounties System (DBS) parameters adjustments:

  • Equilibrium value increased from 115% to 135%
  • The maximum output of the DBS increased from 150% to 180%
  • The recover to equilibrium rate for states below the equilibrium value has been increased, making it easier for systems to recover.

Encounter Surveillance System (ESS) parameters adjustments:

  • The time required to hack the main bank increased from 5 minutes to 6 minutes and 30 seconds
  • The auto payment timer reduced from 3 to 2 hours
  • The radius from the ESS where Cloaking is restriced increased from 75 km to 150 km. All other effects remain at a 75 km radius.

Given the enthusiasm I have seen at our end for running off to rob banks, I can why they might want to work with that.  Six and a half minutes is more time, and can seem like forever when you’re sitting there, but to get a defense fleet together for anything bigger than randos passing through takes time as well.

CCP also announced they were going to go back to native support for MacOS.  Expected to arrive in 2021, CCP mentioned the Metal graphics system and the Big Sur operating system update as specifically being supported.  A likely incentive for this move was Apple’s move to their M1 processor on systems going forward.  Given even Linus Torvalds said that Linux support for the M1 was unlikely, CCP couldn’t just rely on Wine to keep MacOS players in the game.

This will probably also be a bit of a blow to those still running EVE Online on various Linux distros, an unsupported configuration still used by a small group of players, unless CCP continues to contribute to the Wine project after the new native MacOS client is released.

And then there was the weekly peak concurrent number, which was down again this week.

  • 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

That’s the lowest number of the war so far.

Related

21 Weeks of World War Bee

We’re getting to the point where numbers have hyphens and such, but the AP Style Guide says I can just use numerals past 10, so I am swapping to that for titles now.  Also, this week’s update is a day late because I had my usual end of the month post queued up for yesterday.

Welcome to December I guess.

That at least gives us a chance to look at November as a whole as another overall loss report has been put together.  This covers losses all across New Eden and not just on the battle fronts and shows the losses by the two sides to be fairly close, with the Imperium losing 6.2 trillion ISK to PAPI’s 5.7 trillion ISK in losses.

Losses in November by alliance

While TEST has been mocked for leading the war and then letting PandaFam do the heavy lifting, they at least can claim they topped the loss chart for PAPI.

November losses by ship/structure class

When sorted out by what was lost by value for each side, you can see the Imperium losing structures dominating their top five while PAPI losing ships, including some supers and four titans, is what made up the top of their loss list.

While last week was a normal week in most of the world, it was Thanksgiving week here in the US, which meant you likely either had a lot more time to play video games or no time at all, depending on your circumstance.  There was even a hint that an agreement had been reached to not set timers to come out on Thanksgiving Day, though I couldn’t tell you if anybody paid it any mind.

The Mittani posted a war update that invoked Churchillian “finest hour” imagery as we fight to defend what remains of our space in Delve.

Our finest Imperium hour

I’m thinking Stalingrad memes might be more appropriate.  That seems to be what we’re shooting for, a grinding battle that wears the invaders out.  Or maybe Verdun.

He also brought attention to the DOOm Clock, which tracks the time left in PAPI held systems which contain an Imperium Keepstar until they can put up a cyno jammer.  The basic plan is to get everybody to put their assets in Keepstars and deny PAPI the favorable circumstances they demand before they will attack one.

PAPI continued to push their narratives.  We’re broke.  We’ve lost.  The war is essentially won.  (So Progod has time to go play PlanetSide 2.) It will all be over soon.  And, of course, the constant drum beat from Vily and Legacy coalition that we’re all horrible people with horrible leaders and need to be driven from the game.

One of their key articles of faith seems to be that if they constantly concern troll The Initiative about how they are suffering due association with the Imperium, they will split off and leave the fight.  That is just the way their leadership rolls.

Delve Front

Delve remains the focus of the war, with PAPI staging in T5ZI-S and the bulk of Imperium forces based next door in 1DQ1-A.  This has made combat a daily occurrence as both sides are too close to ignore or avoid each other.  The friction which this causes will keep losses up for both sides.

Delve – Nov. 29, 2020

While PAPI has continued to grind down smaller structures and a few Fortizars, the Imperium has continued to make them pay for being lax, including catching a Leviathan and a Revenant untethered on the Keepstar in their staging.  Given the exploding price of minerals we saw in the October MER, capital ships are going to start getting expensive to replace.

Other Theaters

With war on our doorstep The Imperium spent less time trying to push back Querious.  There are still quite a few systems with no ihub installed, but the flips were less frequent last week.  The main focus for the Imperium has been ihubs for systems that still contain one of our Keepstars, per the DOOm clock mentioned above.  W6V-VM, for example, got reset on Saturday when we blew up the ihub there.

Querious – Nov. 29, 2020

In Esoteria it appears that TEST has made a deal with Army of Mango Alliance (AoM).  You may remember that AoM decided to opt out of the war for the most part back in week seventeen, going home to crab.  TEST has convinced them to defend Esoteria, no doubt promising them the space if they can hold it, against the Imperium forces that have set up shop in the region.  That has led to some push back against The Initiative, The Bastion, and Ferrata Victrix.

Northwest Esoteria – Nov. 29, 2020

While both sides work on wresting ihubs from each other, the locals managed to lose a Nyx, a Hel, a few Rorquals, and some structures.  It isn’t a safe place to crab at the moment.

And then there is the promised PandaFam invasion of Fountain that was mentioned last week.  That hasn’t materialized so far, there not being much there to invade I suppose.  A few targets of opportunity have been hit, but nothing taken.  Maybe next week.

My Participation

Last week I probably had more time for video games overall, though it was broken up by family and holiday activities, so there were not so many large blocks of time, the usual requirement for fleet ops.  Also I played quite a bit of the new Shadowlands expansion in World of Warcraft and not so much EVE Online.

But, as always, I found a time for a few fleets.  The week started off with a Mister Vee fleet that ran into T5ZI-S and blew up an Athanor while about 1,200 PAPI pilots sat around trying to figure out what to do about it.

Athanor starting to brew up as we fly past

They eventually tried to block the way back to 1DQ1-A, but we got out the back door and were able to get a bridge home off the Keepstar in D-W7F0.

I was in a few other ops on the gate between the two forces, including another John Hartley “you’re all dumb” op where some people didn’t follow instructions and got blown up by a Chemo Proteus gang and he left the fleet.  While I understand his frustration, being among those who did follow instructions and being abandoned doesn’t make me want to log in when I see his ops pinged.  And those of us on the ball actually killed a Chemo Proteus.  Oh well.

I thought I might have a loss to report after an unfueled Raitaru was blown up in 1DQ1-A, which dumped its contents into space, there being no more asset safety for such structures.  I was in a fleet that chased off the attackers, then began going through the station containers to see what there was worth rescuing.  I grabbed some nocxium and ejected some ships into space, then dropped my own ship off at a nearby structure and warped back to jump in a couple of the ships to see if they were fit.  They were not, but my boarding them flagged them as mine, so when we blew them up, I got the insurance payout.  However, no kill mail was attributed to me, so no loss I guess.  I also carried off an empty Tristan, just because I could.

All of which left my loss count the same as last week.

  • 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

Last week CCP also brought us the Explosive Velocity update which tweaked a few ships and is alleged to have fixed the server problem that ruined the Imperiums trap in YZ9-F6 back in October.  We shall see if anybody is willing to gamble some more titans based on that fix.

Meanwhile, the weekly peak concurrent user count dipped a bit, landing on Sunday below the 35K mark.

  • 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

No doubt the US holiday, the start of the shopping season, and/or the launch of the World of Warcraft Shadowlands expansion ate a bit into the user base.

Related

Eleven Weeks of World War Bee

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

When, further on down the road, somebody asks what the goal of the war was, I will reference this quote.  It is one thing to say it in your alliance update, or on /r/eve, or in some other dark corner of the internet, but when he has given it to the mainstream gaming press, that is now the benchmark by which he will be measured.

Vily is allegedly aggrieved because he was “fired” by the Imperium, something he explains in that article.  However, people who were around at the time remember him leaving amicably.  And the Imperium has, up through the last CSM election, put Vily on their ballot because he was viewed as somebody they could work with.  Also, there is that long non-invasion pact we had with Legacy when PanFam was their enemy.  Not behavior consistent with the Vily narrative.

Anyway, he and Progodlegend continued to push a narrative that Goons are bad for the game,  forming a huge blue doughnut against us while repeatedly using a scene from 300 where the Spartans claim “warrior” as their profession as part of his narrative.

Somehow the Imperium are the Persians in this scenario, the farmers and other non-combat types who are… completely outnumbered by an overwhelming force attacking their territory?  That doesn’t sound right.

And it is especially suspect when you look at the MER and see who is farming.  But I’m just a brainwashed Imperium line member (per Vily), so maybe I’ve mislearned that historical metaphor.

On the bright site, TEST has changed its tune on operational tempo.  February is no longer the target date for VD Day (victory in Delve).  They have decided they will only need until the end of October, though that might only be the 1DQ1-A victory date.  It only took until week eleven to declare that the invasion has begun.   We will see if they actually attack in Delve some time soon.

The Northern Front

There isn’t a “Northern Front” to speak of now.  All but four of the invader’s ihubs have been removed by The Initiative as of this writing.  They even got the staging Fortizar.  Anything left behind will end up in Hophib via asset safety.  The Initiative even visited there.  Basically, the attackers are gone, we aren’t doing much there other than clearing out the remains, and nobody lives there for now.

The Southern Front

Querious is now where the action is.  Last week I speculated about whether the invaders might be making for NPC Delve given their run of attacks on the northern systems that lead there.

However, their eyes were apparently focused on another target, the 49-U6U system.

They first dropped a Keepstar in 1M4-FK, which seemed a little short of where they might want to be for NPC Delve, though it was a single jump from their staging in Khanid low sec.

Then they put up a Keepstar in P-ZMZV, which definitely ruled out NPC Delve as the immediate goal.  Instead they were using that as a staging to take the ihub in 49-U6U, an operation where they got out 3,000 pilots for node contest.  That was more than enough to take the ihub.

Querious – Sep 20, 2020 – Invasion route and ihub status

The system is important to them because it is on the direct route from Catch to Querious.  Those who have been following along at home might remember that PandaFam and Legacy concentrated all of their supers and titans in two Keepstars, laid down expressly to dock them, early in the war.  That seemed like it might be their invasion route.

Where they started out and the current focus

And then, of course, those ships sat there and did nothing while KarmaFleet camped the gate in 49-U6U with a cruiser gang.

Later the invaders laid down a chain of 13 Keepstars to move the supers and titans all the way around to Fountain to bring overwhelming force to bear on the Imperium Keepstars in Fountain.

Once done there, they moved to Khanid low sec to focus on Querious.  Now their attention has finally turned to 49-U6U.  It seems like they could have force the gate a while back, but maybe they don’t have the thousand titans about which Progodlegend was boasting a few weeks back.

Now, with the 49-U6U ihub in their hands, we can no longer cyno jam the system if we want, so they used their advantage to… make the slowest move op ever, gating one dreadnought at a time through the gate into Querious to jump them to their new staging in P-ZMZV.  They were paranoid enough to be worried about getting caught by Imperium supers and titans that they wouldn’t put more that one dread on grid at a time… covered by three subcap fleets around the gate… but not paranoid enough to just use the chain of Keepstars to jump their caps around into Querious the long way.  It seems odd.

Systems in titan range of P-ZMZV and supply routes

Meanwhile, there is still an Imperium Keepstar and Fortizar in 49-U6U.  They reinforced the Fortizar, but then stood down for the armor timer when they found they did not out number us sufficiently to take the fight.  Who were the Spartans in that scenario?

But they’ll have to fight us on Keepstars and Fortizars in range of our caps at some point.  So far they have only faced subcap resistance, with some dread and carrier support, and had to bring out their own supers to overcome that.  It is going to be fun when we have titans on the structures waiting for them.

My Participation

This week was Slippery Pete week for me, the name referring to a Tengu doctrine fit with the covert and interdiction nullified subsystems.  This allows them to use black ops jump bridges and pass through warp disruption bubbles.  They are slow to align and not at all tanky, but can blap targets out to 200km and warp off before you can get to them.  You don’t hold the grid with them, you warp in on a group attacking a target and savage them from range then warp off, only to return from another direction and pick off more targets.

Petes on the move

I got in a Pete fleet four nights running during the week, and we managed to frustrate hostiles attacking our structures in Querious, saving a Fortizar while bleeding the enemy and making them jump their caps out prematurely, even killing an Apostle, a Thanatos, and a Revelation along the way.

Petes on the Apostle kill

Petes are a lot of fun and inflict a lot of damage for very few losses when used correctly.

I was also on the ops around 49-U6U.  Friday night I was in the wall of battleships there to defend our Fortizar in the system.

Battleships massed

That was the Fortizar timer I mentioned above where were were outnumbered by the attackers declined to take the fight.  So we reinforced the ihub in the system, so now they’ll have to at least form up to defend it because we have a whole SIG dedicated to entosis ready to contest it if they do not.

I was also around for the hostile move op through 49-U6U, though they were so cautious that there was never an opportunity for a fight as they ran their caps through the gate one at a time.

However, later that evening they got careless and Kun’mi and his dread group dropped on a TEST titan, killing it on their Fortizar in 4-07MU.  They responded with a dread fleet smaller than the group that dropped on the titan… I guess all their friends moved already… and a brawl ensued.  I jumped in a Ferox fleet that burned in to support the dreads and got on a few hostile dread kills (and one fax) as we helped clear tackle so our own caps could extract.

A Revelation goes up as we fly past

The battle report shows things fell our way.

Battle Report Header

I ended up getting caught on the gate trying to get out, so lost my Ferox, but it was still a hell of a fight, run and gun and go go go.

So I ended up the week with having been in a few good fights, having gotten on quite a few kills, all for the loss of one Ferox.  My loss total for the war across all accounts is now:

  • Ares interceptor – 9
  • Atron entosis frigate – 5
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Drake entosis battle cruiser – 3
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Malediction interceptor – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Scimitar logi – 1
  • Bifrost entosis command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1

Other Bits

The invaders remain careful… hesitant at times… and no doubt the titan kill I mentioned above is an indication as to why.

Their leadership is telling their members that we’re already dead, that the end is a foregone conclusion, that victory is theirs to take.  It is all the slanted rhetoric of war, and I would expect nothing less.

But, at some point, they are going to have to get on grid with one of our Keepstars within range of our supers and titans, something that has yet to happen, and put that rhetoric to the test.

Maybe.  I guess.

I mean, Dunk Dinkle was on Talking in Stations saying that they don’t want to do that, that they might never do that.  Instead they want to keep laying down a bunch of Keepstars to try and bait us into fighting on their grid.

I remain mystified about this apparent plan to build a Maginot Line of defensive Keepstars in hopes that we’ll attack them.  It worked so well for the French in 1940.  Or maybe the Italians invading Egypt in 1940 is the better metaphor.  I don’t know, and I might fall back into a “that’s not how invasions work” routine if I am not careful.  Though, if they get one close enough to us, I am sure we will attack it.  We have attacked defended Keepstars before, and won.

It the end, it seems pretty silly.   If you’re going to run a war of extermination (see quote at the top of the post), don’t you have to actually go in and get the people you plan to exterminate?  How are they going to makes us leave the game if they don’t have a plan to blow up our stuff?  How do you achieve the declared victory condition with that mindset?

Anyway, the lack of offensive spirit in our foes probably explains why the Sunday PCU counts for the war remain tepid.  You need a big battle to get big numbers.

  • 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

I fear we may have blown the horn of Goondor too soon.  The enemy remains tentative.

Other articles about the war this week:

(I’d link something other than INN, but EN24 just reposts CCP press releases these days and the New Eden Post has an apparent article quota of about 2 per month, and they blew one of them on EVE Echoes so far this month.)

Seven Weeks of World War Bee

This past week saw CCP take some official notice of the war.  We didn’t get a dev blog or a news item.  Instead CCP sent out a press email to some gaming sites announcing that $112,000 worth of ships and structures and what not have been destroyed so far in the war which has involved maybe 130,000 players/accounts/capsuleers.  Some examples of sites running with that:

And then there are sites who couldn’t even copy the email successfully, like MMOs.com that attributed that destruction amount to the Triglavian invasion of high sec.  Or maybe they got it right and the others were wrong.  I haven’t actually seen the email that CCP sent out.

I do wonder what the distribution list looked like, as I haven’t seen PC Gamer, where Steven Messner has done a bunch of in-depth coverage of the game over the years, mention this.  The email must not have had enough to build a story of much substance around.

I am disappointed that CCP didn’t publish a Dev Blog or a news item on their site, but you can figure out what it said based on what got repeated over the multiple stories.  I am curious as to how they came up with that 130,000 number.  Hell, I am curious as to how they came up with the $112,000 amount.  Back at the end of week four it was estimated that ten trillion ISK worth of ships, structures, and modules had been blown up, an amount that, with even the most generous PLEX package they sell (who spends $500 on PLEX?), comes up to nearly that $112K figure.  Maybe that count at four weeks was wrong, but that just makes me want to know how CCP counted all the more so.

And then there is the World War Bee site which is trying to log all the losses, and it tallies up to more than that as well.

I am also a bit surprised they went for the ISK to real world dollar measurement, which generally hasn’t been their thing.  But I guess it does get headlines.

We also saw some action in high sec as Legacy Coalition went into Niarja to defend its supply lines from the Triglavian invasion.  The Imperium pushed back and now Niarja is a free fire zone with no CONCORD there.

EDECOM gives up at this point

Haulers will want to bypass that system, which means taking a lot more gates between Caldari and Amarr space.

Northern Front

PandaFam has turned their attention to Imperium structures in the Fountain region.  They had killed a number of smaller structures, but the attention has mostly been on the Keepstars  The successfully reinforced then destroyed the Keepstar in O-PNSN and had the Keepstar in KVN-36 in their sights.  However, a server crash interrupted things during the fight for the armor timer.  The clock reset and they now have to start the process all over again.  That moved the fighting to social media, forums, and Reddit, as people tried to blame one side or the other for the crash.  It is all about the smart bombs people say.

PandaFam is momentarily stalled them on the road to Delve.  But they still have four Keepstars in the bag already.

The Fountain kills

The Keepstars in KVN-36 and Y-2ANO remain standing, waiting to for the coming assault.

Southern Front

It is difficult to sum up what TEST and their Legacy allies have been up to for the last week.  I mean, sure, they showed up at the Keepstar fights in some force and managed not to get bombed off the field, though their leader seemed to have problems fitting the rigs on his ship, as I mentioned in my post about the O-PNSN Keepstar fight.

They were, of course, part of the fight at Niarja, where Brave and TEST both declared they were going to help EDENCOM defend the system.  And Brave actually showed up.  But I mentioned that at the top of the post.

And then there is Queirous, where one can describe efforts as dissolute at best.  In order to prove that nobody really wants to hold that space, a bunch of systems now sit with no ihub installed.  Neither side wants to defend ihubs in eastern Querious, but neither can they abide the other side holding an ihub.

Querious ihub map – Aug 22, 2020

So the Legacy ihub count is down to 18, but it is clear they are not really trying any more, so the count is more an indication of that.

There have been the usual range of skirmishes at the gates between Legacy and the Imperium, but the war is happening in Fountain right now and the south is just a side show at best.

My Participation

I managed to get in on a couple of big ops, including the two Keepstar battles, but otherwise it has been a quiet week for me.  A massive heatwave out here, plus the state catching on fire (smoke from two of those fires are visible from our house), work, and getting ready for our daughter to head off to college has kept me from doing much gaming at all over the last week.  And this week will likely see me even less focused on gaming.

I did manage to lose at least one ship on every fleet I went on however.  My ship loss count for the war so far now stands at:

  • Ares interceptor – 9
  • Atron entosis frigate – 5
  • Drake entosis battle cruiser – 3
  • Malediction interceptor – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 2
  • Bifrost entosis command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1

Overall

As I mentioned at the top of the post, CCP half-halfheartedly tried to drum up some press interest in the war with an email that got a few takers from second tier gaming sites.  I guess our fights are not big enough to be worth a dev blog yet.  But they at least put a little effort into some publicity.

But, after last week, I guess CCP doesn’t want to go bragging about a server crash.

Of course, CCP has been all about EVE Echoes since it launched the week before, putting out some odd adds.  But they are justifiably proud of the millions of players who have signed up for the game.  Now they just have to buy some stuff.

And then there was the fight over Niarja, which pulled null sec into the Triglavian invasion event.  I’m not sure everybody is happy that we showed up.

Anyway, another week of war has gone by and a victory for the attackers, or an accord between the belligerents seems a distant hope.

If the word is right, the invaders are moving their titans and supers from FAT-6P, where they have been sitting since the war, idle behind the 49-U6U4-07MU gate connection, to come around and approach Querious from a low sec direction to get them into the fight.  Apparently we’re too formidable for them to gate through directly into the region, so they have put down a chain of Keepstars to avoid that gate.

Maybe that is what drove the peak concurrent users up to 38,299, up from 34,974 last week.  Still not up to the first week peak of 38,838, but close.

We shall see how the move op turns out and what the invaders plan to do with their 1,000 titans.

Addendum:

The Node Crash at KVN-36

After we lost the Keepstar in O-PNSN on Thursday, eyes turned to the next target, the Keepstar in KVN-36.  The armor timer was set to come out a day later, so both sides were ready to form up to contest that.

Again, the battle was going to overlap a bit with work, so I pre-positioned another ECM burst interceptor so that I could join in when time allowed.  I saw pings and people forming up long before I was able to get in.  But Kun’mi had another little ECM burst fleet going, so once I had the time I logged in and undocked to join in.  I caught a warp into the fray almost immediately, landed in some hostiles, and got tackled.  I set off my ECM burst, but couldn’t get away.  My Ares went boom on the first run.

The hostiles were good enough to pod me though, so I was quickly back in 1DQ1-A where I grabbed my back up ship, a Malediction, and headed back to the fight.  As always, since tidi was slowing the fight down, very little happened before I got back.

I made a perch off the Keepstar and rode the warps as Kun’mi launched us into the hostiles fleets.

Aligning out from a run

The hostiles were running the same basic plan as the day before.  They had an Astrahus on grid with the Keepstar where they had tethered up their carriers.  Those carriers disgorged a mass of fighters to attack the Keepstar.

The hostile Astrahus

Meanwhile, the subcap fleets from both sides set to shooting each other, while we zipped in and out trying to avoid getting tackled.  Being hit with the ECM burst is annoying, I know this from having been on the receiving end a few times, and the enemy put a lot of effort into tackling and blowing us up.  No doubt each kill gave them great joy.  But we were close enough to home that the few of us in the fleet would just re-ship and fly quickly back.

There was also a lot of smart bombing going on.  We had some success the day before the a Praxis fleet set up to smart bomb, and the hostiles picked that up as well, so there were smart bombs going off all over it seemed.

The Praxis fleet from the day before

Both sides seemed to using them with impunity.  You can dig though kills and find ships that have smart bomb damage from both sides.  And, of course, some doctrines, like the Feroxes, are not smart bombing platforms, but carry one fit.  So it was a hazard and I had to warp off to repair a few times after flying into smart bombs.

Things seemed to be going with the attackers.  They had quickly stopped the repair timer and had been steadily whittling away at the armor layer of the Keepstar.  We kept doing our runs and our fleets in general tried to slow things down.

Another run in my Malediction

However, the system seemed more laggy than the day before.  Commands were slow, especially when close in with the Keepstar, even though there were not as many people in system as we had seen in O-PNSN.  But both sides persisted.  It is just something you put up with and power through to win the objective.  Then things got really balky and unresponsive and, suddenly, boom!  We were all kicked out of the game.

Connection dropped at 21:31 EVE time

That happened to coincide with Dave Archer’s Jackdaw fleet getting smart bombed by NCDot, which seemed like it was going to wipe them all out.  Kun’mi happened to be describing this action to us and the likely fate of the Jackdaws, and that was the moment when the server died, and so became part of the lore of the battle.

Of course, we all tried to log back in, but the server wasn’t having us.

Access denied

CCP tweeted out a link to a forum thread about the server going down.  They were aware and working on the situation.  That was at about 21:33, so they jumped on that pretty quickly.  Meanwhile, both sides were anxious about what was going to be the state of affairs when the server came back up.

In the past, servers going down meant tough luck to one side and a saving grace to the other.  I lived through the null sec era of server killing battles.  I remember back in Fountain War at Z9PP-H when CCP remapped the node incorrectly and dumped everybody out, effectively saving the TEST capital fleet.  I have posts about other crashes, like the one at HED-GP and the one at KW-I6T.

But that was all quite a while back.  And the ability of servers to handle such loads have gotten better over time.  The X47 Keepstar battle kept going despite a ton of ECM burst ships and a DDoS attack in progress.  There were about 6,000 ships involved, with fighters flying all over and all the other usual stuff, during the so-called million dollar battle.

There was also a bit of the Imperium institutional paranoia about the situation, a worry that this time, when a crash would benefit Goons, that CCP might try to roll back the clock on the timer rather than let things ride as they had traditionally done.

We had about a half an hour to think about that.  CCP said the server had been stood back up at 21:55, but by the time I got in and made it back on grid with the Keepstar… everybody had been warped off grid… it was 22:01.  And there I saw the Keepstar timer had just a little over two minutes on the clock.

Just about two minutes left

Given that first screen shot at the top of the post, taken at 20:55, showed 13:37 (leet!) left on the timer, it looked like only 12 minuted had counted down during the approximate half hour that the node had kept us out, though the node was down and presumably not advancing the clock for part of that time.  The downtime didn’t save the Keepstar completely, but the time left was so small that it ran down before the attackers could bring firepower to bear on the structure.  Keepstar saved.

Timers reset

You see a repair timer there, but you’ll notice the damage indicators for the armor and shields were set back to their pristine state.  The objective had been won, with some help from CCP.

We drew the card this time

Of course, recriminations were flying long before the servers came back up.  Everybody was looking for somebody to blame.  In the forum thread about the server outage somebody was trying to pin the blame on those Goon ECM burst interceptors, which made me laugh.  If there were even a dozen operating at once I would have been surprised.  We had about eight going at our peak when I was participating, and that isn’t enough to cause much of a problem.  It certainly didn’t break the server during the last fight.

There were also fingers being pointed about who was running their smart bombs, though both sides had them deployed.  Memes were being thrown around and Cryo, the official Imperium propaganda artist these days, even threw together a special piece for the occasion.

The smug is palpable

Meanwhile some people on /r/eve are claiming that the server crash was deliberately caused by “hundreds” of Goon smart bombing ships or ECM bursts or a Goon DDoS attack (evidence?) or anything else that their vivid imaginations could churn up, because Grrr Goons.  Some things never change.

I personally don’t buy any of the finger pointing about the crash being an intended goal.  We had more load on the server in the fight the day before and it made it, though at times things were marginal.  (Note the problem I mentioned with my UI when I returned to the fight.)  Sometimes things just fail.  We should probably be surprised that this doesn’t happen more often given how much load we put on the servers.  And nobody is going to stop using smart bombs, or ECM bursts, or masses of fighters on either side, so it seems like it will happen again during the war.

Anyway, the battle wasn’t over yet.  Everybody was back on grid and there were people to shoot, so things kept exploding for quite some time.  Kun’mi had lost his probes, so we just warped in on wrecks when we could.

Another run into the mix

I did get a couple of bursts off, but eventually got tackled again.  They put everything on me they could.

A range of effects

From left to right I believe I was neuted, painted, nos’d, webbed, scrammed, tracking disrupted, and pointed.  I like the tracking disruptor.  Some zealous pilot in a Cruicifier hit me with one on a few runs. (So did somebody in an Eagle, though why they didn’t just shoot me…)  Pity it doesn’t do anything to an AOE weapon.  It will get you on the kill mail however, and that is the important part for all of us.  I got my ECM burst off before I blew up, and was then able to warp off in my pod before the parade of effects were able to land on me again.

After that I docked up and waited around for people to clear out.  I didn’t pad my kill board as gratuitously as I did the day before, but I got on my share and didn’t even get on any blue kills.  A rare thing with the indiscriminate ECM burst module.

This time around, with no structure loss weighing us down, the battle report fell in our favor.

Battle Report Header

Plus, we won the objective.  PandaFam has to start over again by setting the first timer again, which they did not bother with.  They will likely want to set it to fall in EUTZ where they are stronger.

So it goes.  They still have four Keepstar kills in the bag and two more left to kill in Fountain before the fun starts in Delve when supers and titans will start being part of the mix.  I think they only have a few dozen there to kill.  At a rate of about one or two a week, this could take some time.

Other coverage:

The O-PNSN Keepstar Blows Up

After the rebuff at the Y-2ANO Keepstar last weekend, PandaFam changed their tack and decided to go after the Keepstar in Fountain that was the furthest from Delve.  That was the Keepstar belonging to The Bastion in O-PNSN.

O-PNSN is a good dozen gates from Delve and, perhaps more importantly, to get there the Imperium would have to travel through I-CUVX, PandaFam’s forward staging system.  They would be closer to the target than us and could reinforce multiple gate camps against any fleets attempting to gate their way to the fight.

I had actually flown out to check on the Keepstars the other night and was surprised to find that the final timer was looming already.

Final fight in 21 hours or so

Seeing that the battle would be start towards the latter half of my work day, I flew out in an ECM burst interceptor the night before hoping to be able to join in, or at least peek in on, the battle.

I was in luck.  Kun’mi had an ECM burst interceptor fleet up so I was able to join up with them once they arrived in the system, then watch the count down to the start of the event.

30 seconds left on the clock

The fight itself looked like a return to form.  Again, using fighters elsewhere, as PandaFam did at Y-2ANO, did not turn out well for them, so they once again focused their fighters on attacking the Keepstar.  Their carriers sat on their Fortizar, bubbled up so they wouldn’t warp off in case of a disconnect, and sent the fighters out early so they would arrive in time for the final stage to begin.

The PandaFam Fortizar anchored on grid with the Keepstar

Our subcaps were set to try and extract a heavy price in fighters while their subcaps were out in force to suppress ours.  There were Ravens on the field again to help keep the timer paused, but this time PandaFam was using them and they managed not to get blotted out in a single bomb run.

Meanwhile, we were hanging on tether on the Tatara on grid waiting for Kun’mi to warp us off into the thick of things.  Our job was just to be annoying, to slow the enemy down, and to whore on a bunch of kill mails.

I’ve explained this before, but as a refresher, Kun’mi would probe down a hostile group and fleet warp everybody at them… everybody was all 8-10 of us depending on when in the battle we’re talking.

My Malediction amid some Feroxes

When we land, we immediately start to warp out again, hitting our overheated Burst ECM as we aligned.  The wave from that has a good chance to break the target lock on any ship within 26km, which can be annoying for DPS and deadly if logi loses lock on somebody they are repping.

You get a lot of target breaks when you get right in the thick of a hostile fleet.

A lot of Feroxes were out and about

And everybody you tag counts as though you attacked them, so if they end up getting blown up after your run, you get on the kill mail as a participant.  This can lead to some serious kill board padding.

The odds, however, were very much against us.  It was about four to one against us in the system, so winning the objective really depended on the enemy screwing up.  If they limited the number of mistakes they made, they would kill the Keepstar and win the objective.

There were a few crazy moments.  We did a run on a fleet and got out just before it got bombed and wiped out.  The Bastion had some dreads in the Keepstar that emerged to fight against the odds.

The Revelation explodes, soon they would all be wrecks

And the enemy did not make any critical mistakes.  I mean sure, Progodlegend, one of the TEST leaders, got his Damnation shot out from underneath him and the kill mail showed that he hadn’t bothered to fit the rigs that were in the cargo.  This was made more amusing when he was trying to return in another Damnation, got caught along the way, and was blown up again, and that kill mail showed he had yet again not bothered to fit his rigs.

We kept on doing our runs whenever Kun’mi could find us a target.

In on another fleet… just within range

However, I got distracted at my end for a bit and had to tab out.  I tabbed back to find we had been warped in and I had been tackled.  I set off the ECM burst, hoping to break enough locks to be able to warp off, but I was out of luck.  My Malediction was blown up.  A lot of Jackdaws on that kill mail, a lot of missiles in flight my way.

The battle was still going on and the enemy was kind enough to pod me, so I jumped into an ECM burst Ares and flew on back.  With tidi running strong and restricted to that system, the battle would wait for me.

However, the server itself was clearly having problems.  I had to disconnect coming into the system as I ended up in the eternal warp tunnel.  Once I got logged back in and was in the system, the UI wasn’t working for me.  I wasn’t able to rejoin Kun’mi’s fleet and none of the right click menus were working for me… oh, and my capacitor and all the UI around it was missing.  I could only warp to bookmarks in the bookmarks window I had up, so I ended up tethered on the Tatara again hoping the game would catch up and fix my problems.

But it was not to be.  So I just moved the camera about and watched as the Keepstar slowly headed towards destruction.  Fighting carried on, and I got a nice shot of the arcing votron projector hitting a Ferox fleet.

Zap baby!

I stuck around and watched the final moments and the Keepstar exploding.

Flames erupting from the structure

The fighting carried on for a while, but eventually things started settle down.  I saw almost 3,200 in local at one point, a big fight for a weekday.  By the time it dropped to about half that number the server finally caught up and deigned to draw my UI finally.  I could travel back home now.

The battle report shows things going heavily in favor of the attackers.  Pandemic Horde put more people on the field alone that all of the defenders combined… and they can’t all be spies.

Battle Report Header

We killed a lot of ships… but that Keepstar weighs heavily against us, ringing in at 200 billion ISK.  Without that, not a bad exchange… but without the Keepstar in play nobody would have put up with those losses.

There is some question as to how many fighters we killed.  They don’t always get recorded correctly on zKill and do not get counted at all unless a full squadron gets destroyed.  So if just one fighter gets back, no kill mail.  But, in the end, we lost the objective.  The Keepstar died.

As for my time, zKill put me on 227 kill mails.  That is four and a half pages of kill board padding right there.  Enough to put me in the top ten for KarmaFleet, a totally undeserved position.

Padded kill board

But my kill board also shows how delayed the server was.

Up until I was blown up, all my kills are credited to my Malediction.  After I was blown up and podded, there are a few where there is just a question mark.  You’re not supposed to get credit if you leave the system, but things were out of whack, so I am sure the process leaves some margin of error.

But after a while… and this covers a whole page worth of kill mails… the credit goes to the my Ares.  However, I was unable to join a fleet or warp to anybody to set of the ECM burst, I was just sitting in system.  But as the server caught up, it no doubt had me on the list of parties that had applied some sort of damage or effect, checked if I was still there, then credited whatever ship I happened to be in at the time.  Again, getting kills when you’re in your pod is pretty common.  But I was podded, got a new ship, flew the 15 gates to get back, and then didn’t do anything, yet got the credit for ships I had tagged before I was blown up.

The magic Ares

And that still leaves 30 where the server wasn’t sure what to do with me, so just put a question mark for my ship.  Quirks of the game.  We should probably be happy it works as well as it does.  There were times when we were up close to the Keepstar when commands seemed to take a lot longer to execute than even 10% tidi would explain.

On the Keepstar trying to warp off

So it goes.  The invaders have now killed four of the six Keepstars in Fountain.  The one in KVN-36 is next on their list.  The armor timer comes out a couple hours after this post goes live.  The armor timer is the tough one, the one that will take more time, so it will likely be an even longer fight.  We shall see if the Imperium has any tricks left, or if the attackers do us the favor of making a mistake, when we go to defend it.

Addendum:

Six Weeks of World War Bee

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.

The Fountain ihubs all in PandaFam hands

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.

Three Keepstars Down

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.

Local during the fight

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.

Independence

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.

The Querious flood plain – Aug 16, 2020

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.

The list of Athanors in the system

We could set them to pull moon chunks and have a mining op I suppose.

This is not the way successful invasions generally work.

My Participation

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

Overall

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.

Addendum:

Defending the Y-2ANO Keepstar

The war over the ihubs in Fountain, such that it was, is over.  PandaFam took the final one this past week.  Now there is just the structure in cleanup.  And that too has gone well for the attackers so far.  There were six Keepstars, the big targets, in the region and they have blown up three of them so far.

Three Keepstars Down

The remaining three Keepstars, located in O-PNSN, KVN-36, and Y-2ANO, were the next obvious targets.

PandaFam chose to go after the one in Y-2ANO, which is also the closest one to Delve, being on grid with the region gate to ZXB-VC.  The theory I have heard regarding the choice is that, in taking away the Y-2ANO Keepstar, they would hinder our ability to defend the other two.  We could not just undock a titan and use it to bridge fleets to help with the defense of the Keepstars deeper in the region.

This past Thursday they began their assault by hitting the Keepstar in order to set the first timer.  This involves knocking down the shields, after which the count down starts for the next round, the armor timer.

I missed the start of that fight, but showed up later in an interdictor to help out.

It seemed to go about the way it went back at armor timer in IGE-RI.  The enemy brought subcaps and carriers.  The fighters from the carriers were used to attack the Keepstar while the subcaps fought.  There were a few more people involved, but things played out as before.  The attackers managed to set the timer at a cost in ISK in time.  The battle report shows we did much better on the ISK war, but we lost the objective, and the objective is what matters most on defense.

Shield fight battle report header

It also took them almost three hour to finish the job, and the shield timer is the easy one.  When the fight was over and we left, we could see the clock counting down for the next fight.

The timer to the next fight

The timer was set to come out on Saturday in EUTZ prime time and early USTZ time.  Given that, the fight was expected to attract a lot more pilots.  And the Keepstar itself was said to have tech II armor plates installed, meaning that it would take longer to get through the armor layer and set the final timer.  The expectation was set that it might be one of those fights that goes on all day long.

In the mean time, both sides got ready.  At our end, the night before, I was along for a fleet that moved some resupply ships to the Keepstar, so that if people lost a ship during the fight, they could dock up and reship.  There was some talk about when the ping might come for the fight as the hostiles were looking to get there first to try and hold us off, so we might have to counter by showing up earlier.

Fortunately for me, I wake up by 6am no matter what.  It is part of getting old.  I used to wonder why my grandfather never slept in, and now I have become him.

So I was on and able to do a bit more prep work long before the first fleet pings landed.

I was actually concerned that there were zero Tracking Computer II modules listed on the market at our home Keepstar.  They are part of the extra fit you need to get a Ferox or Megathron set to shoot fighters.

So I ran out in an interceptor to NPC Delve where there were 60 up for sale at around 1.7 to 2 million ISK.  I bought them all up and flew them back.  19 would fit in my cargo hold, with another fit and offline in an empty mid slot.  I listed most of them on the market back at home for 2 million ISK each, where they sold out very quickly.  I hope they went to good use.

The first ping came over Jabber at 14:38 UTC (7:38am my time).

There were three initial fleets flying Megathrons, Feroxes, and Jackdaws.  I had hauled out a replacement Megathron the night before, so that was probably the right choice as I had a reship ready.  But Asher was leading the Ferox fleet, so I went with that instead.

We managed to put 1DQ1-A into 10% tidi just with people logging in, getting in fleets, and undocking.  2,000 people in motion will do that.

Staging slow down

We undocked and and took a titan bridge to the Keepstar in ZXB-VC where the fleets gather up for the push into Y-2ANO.

Megathrons and other Baltec ships bridge in

From there we warped to the gate and started to push through all together.

A clump of ships on the gate

It was there that I ended up getting disconnected.  The Ferox fleet went through and I could hear Asher giving orders and could tell that the fleet was in motion, but I was stuck in the tunnel animation.  There was tidi on both sides of the gate, so I could tell when things went wrong because the animation suddenly started running at full speed rather than the slow rate that indicates tidi.

I closed the client and tried logging back in.  The character screen indicated that I had made it into Y-2ANO, another sign that my client wasn’t in sync with the server, but there was so much going on that it took a long to get on.  I hit the jump button on the gate at 15:12 UTC, but didn’t load grid after logging back in until 15:35 UTC, by which time Asher’s fleet had made it away from the gate.

I had been watching some of the INN Twitch stream of the fight and could see that PandaFam had changed their plan from the first attack.  They had decided to try and keep us out, so they put the fighters from their carriers on the gate along with some subcaps, no doubt with the intent of trying to thin us out as we tried to get through the bubbles around the gate.

My lone Ferox trying to escape the bubbles

I was a big of an obvious target out by myself and was primaried by a Munnin fleet that was part of the group guarding the gate.  The game was moving so slowly that I saw my pod get ejected and got to watch the ship fly off for a bit before it finally exploded.

Bye-bye Ferox!

I got to watch that as I tried to motor out of the bubbles, but they popped by pod as well, sending me back to 1DQ1-A.

Back home, I hopped in a travel ceptor and headed back towards the fight.  I dropped fleet, thinking that I might have to get out the Megathron and join that fleet.

Getting back in the second time was much quicker and, of course, I could just warp out of the bubbles in my Malediction.  (The only thing faster was my SPR payment.  I filed for when I ended up back in 1DQ1-A and saw the ISK hit my account as I jumped into Y-2ANO.  The SRP team must have been ready to go.)

I docked up in the Keepstar and checked what was on alliance contract.  I was worried that I might not have the right fit if I grabbed a Ferox (those Tracking Computer II modules came to mind), but there were a bunch there that were the correct Keepstar defense fit. (Which probably explains why the market was dry of them.)  So I bought one of those, got into that ship, and rejoined the fleet, all of which took a lot longer at the time it took to type that out.

While I was doing all of that, the plan of the attackers started to unravel.  The plan, I gather, was to use the carriers and subcaps to kill us on the gate while a TEST Raven fleet kept the Keepstar timer paused.

However, two bombing runs later, the first led by DBRB and the seconds by Sister Bliss of The Initiative, left 200 Raven wrecks in their wake, allowing the Keepstar to continue its repair cycle. (Video of TEST Ravens exploding)

Undocked on the Keepstar we could see the hostile fighters, which had been engaged elsewhere, now turning our way to try and hit the Keepstar.  We took them under fire as they hove into range, but they were too few and too slow.  The timer ran down below a minute and it looked like we were going to win.  We all keyed up and counted down the last ten seconds as there was nothing in range than could stop the clock.

The repair timer hits zero

After that, the attackers were back to where they were on Thursday night.  The would have to shoot the shields again to set a new timer and come back again at a later date.  They did not seem inclined to do this and the next couple of hours were spent skirmishing and trying to extract.

The final battle report shows losses fairly evenly split.

Armor timer battle report header

Given that they had 800 more people than us on the report… more than three fleets worth of pilots… we did pretty well.  But fighting on your own Keepstar is a big advantage (something we’re just learning, as our history is attacking them, not defending them), as is the fact that the timer is not affected by tidi as it runs down, but runs in real time. (Something that bit us back during the so-called Million Dollar Battle a few years back.)  Imperium institutional paranoia expects CCP to change that now that it is helping Goons.

The battle report shows the whole thing lasting more than three hours, but the Keepstar had been saved in under two, so the objective was won in a shorter time than the initial attack that set the timer.

Meanwhile, as that was going on, some Legacy pilots not involved in the fight used this as an opportunity to set some ihub timers and reinforce a couple of Ansiblex jump gates.  Well played, but the war so far shows they are not very good at following up on such ventures.

We’re certainly not done in Fountain.  The attackers will be back.  There are three Keepstars sitting out there still.  If they cannot kill those in a situation where our titans and supers are not in play, then they are going to have a really rough time when they try to cross into Delve and hit Keepstars there.

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