Tag Archives: Imperium

A Brief History of Goon Leadership in EVE Online

With the ascension of Asher Elias to the leadership of Goons in EVE Online, I started wondering about past leaders.

Look for the Goonion label!

They come up now and the in tales, and the more notorious their actions the more likely they are to be mentioned.  But I have zero first hand knowledge of other leaders, aside from Darius JOHNSON showing up in the middle of the Casino War to try and form something of a “true goons” alliance as leader of Ten Dollar Bond, a reference to the fee one needs to pay to become a posting member of the Something Awful forums.

The appeal to purge the alliance of all but “true goons” has been a recurring theme.

There was a whole age of leadership problems and bad decisions that predated the era of The Mittani, which ran from May 2010 until July 2022.  I went to go find out who had been running the show before I arrived.

This meant going to the GoonWiki.

The GoonWiki is… uh… a place of many words.  Or was a place of many words.  It is gone now, having been replaced by a fresh, new wiki full of useful information, but purged of the wealth of information that it contained.

Not that the information was easy to find or of equal value.

Various scribes over the years had taken up the crayon in order to half heatedly record the happenings of a given era… or to rewrite things they felt were unflattering… before wandering off, distracted by some other project or sleep or their everyday lives, leaving behind a largely incoherent and often conflicting collection of writing where dates, names, actual narrative, and any helpful context was thrown by the wayside if the author could make a joke about somebody’s personal grooming habits, drug use, or extreme bad judgement.

It is as though somebody was trying to recreate the writing process for The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy as described in the books.

Braver men than I have avoided the place studiously, and wiser have dashed themselves on the rocks of its chaos in a vain attempt to find meaning or explain why naming the alliance SOLODRAKBANSOLODRAKBANSO [LODRA] was funny even for a minute.

And the further back in time you went, the more unlikely the tales seemed… if only due to the coherence issue.

Still, while I cannot explain the origins of the corporate structure, what happened in Syndicate in the proto-alliance era, the relationship between GoonFleet, GoonWaffe, and GoonPlatoon, or why one individual or another was put in charge at any given time, I managed to put together something akin to a timeline, which I have broken down into some arbitrary eras.

Origins

The pre-alliance era, when there were several corporations.  Remedial is judged to have been the first leader of the unified tribes, though leadership was clearly not taken all that seriously for a stretch.

  • September 2005 – October 2005? – Remedial
  • Somebody else maybe?
  • December 2005 – Tribal Overture
  • December 2005 – Yeep
  • December 2005 Firstname Lastname
  • December 2005 – February 2006 – Remedial
  • February 2006 – Yeep or Dr. Draw
  • Feburary 2006 – June 2006 – Remedial

In June 2006 GoonSwarm alliance is formed.  Maybe Remedial is in charge.  The records do not state, instead focusing on the main corporations.

  • June 2006 Cefte is de jure CEO of GoonFleet proper as Hoegaarden is CEO of GoonWaffe

Then we begin alliance leaders.

  • June 2006 – July 2006  – Hoegaarden
  • July 2006 – May 2007 – Remedial

The Great War – Sept 2006 to Feb 2009

Sir Molle declared “There are no Goons” and Goons begged to differ.  War were declared, ending in the disbanding of Band of Brothers.  I included Remedial again at the top as his leadership spans eras.

  • July 2006 – May 2007 – Remedial
  • May 2007 – June 2007 – The Mittani
  • June 2007 – Nate Hammertown
  • June 2007 – March 2008 – Sesfan Qu’Lah
  • March 2008 – April 2009  – Darius JOHNSON

The Mittani’s first tenure as leader was short and primarily marked by him calling out CCP for continuing to rig things in favor of Band of Brothers in the wake of the T20 scandal, leading CCP to push back against these allegations.  It is alleged that CCP implied they would take legal action if he continued and he stepped down as leader, though I can find no record of these threats, veiled or otherwise.

Goons and Empire and the Fall

GoonSwarm defeats Band of Brothers and reigns supreme until Karttoon betrays everybody.

  • April 2009 – July 2009 – Zapawork
  • July 2009 – February 2010 – Karttoon

Because he was away on an extended vacation, Karttoon failed to make sure there is enough ISK in the correct account to pay the GoonSwarm sovereignty bill.  Sovereignty droppped and the alliance lost all of its space.

Karttoon returned and used this as an excuse to steal the alliance, kicking everybody out and taking everything he can with him.  Karttoon held both the GoonSwarm alliance as well as the GoonFleet corporation, the latter being tucked away in the Band of Brothers alliance that was formed when the old one was disbanded in order to prevent them from getting their name back.  He later claims he was going to do this anyway.

Related:

Goons Reformed

Having lost the alliance, a new one is formed even as Goons are allowed to crash on Tau Ceti Federation’s couch in Deklein.  Darius JOHNSON comes out of retirement to lead Goons once more.

In February SOLODRAKBANSOLODRAKBANSO is formed.  That lasts until the end of May 2010, when the joke is finally declared dead.

Goonswarm Federation becomes the new alliance on June 1, 2010.  GoonWaffe becomes the primary corporation.  Somewhere along the way Darius JOHNSON exiles ElitistOps, creating a rift that remains until they come back to Goonswarm Federation to help defend Delve during World War Bee.

This also begins the Clusterfuck Coalition in Deklein, which rebrands in 2015 as the Imperium.

  • February 2010 – May 2010 – Darius JOHNSON
  • May 2010 – July 2022 – The Mittani
  • July 15, 2022 – July 28, 2022 – TheAdj
  • July 28, 2022 – now – Asher Elias

Darius JOHNSON stepped down from the leadership role to become a developer at CCP, allowing The Mittani a second shot at leadership, and he held on to that role for the next twelve years, until his downfall earlier this year.

Then TheAdj filled his seat until Asher became the new leader.

And that brings us through to today.

I had actually planned to do a section at the end of this post with short biographies of notable leaders, but the old Wiki disappeared before I got very far, so this is all I have.

That is probably for the best.  Did I mention the writing style of some of the old articles?  I was trying to scrape together a coherent, four sentence paragraph about Remedial from his Wiki entry and… well, that was just not going to happen.

You can find some of the names from the early days popping up again in other groups.  As noted Darius JOHNSON came back during the Casino War to try and make a “true Goons” alliance.  You can also find Hoegaarden as head of Clockwork Pineapple, another offshoot of Goons.  Karttoon came back and hung around in ElitistOps for a bit.

We’re supposed to get the historical Wiki back at some future date as an archive.  Until then, I offer this up as a bit of the history of New Eden.

Kazanir and the Progression Curve in EVE Online

With The Mittani gone we have been having some different people speak at the weekly coalition fireside meetings, which take place on Sunday at the meeting point between EUTZ and USTZ peak times.  So we have had TheAdj, Asher, and this past week, Apple Pear speak to the coalition about what is going on.  It is usually war and policy updates, calls for help on specific fronts (more PI production please!), and a few questions from the audience.

This week, after Apple Pear’s terse comments… he is a man of few words and we respect that… we got a second speaker, Kazanir.

Kazanir is on the GSF finance team and also a new member of the CSM, having been at the top of the Imperium ballot in the CSM17 election.

The CSM17 Winners

Kazanir wanted to speak to us about EVE Online, its current issues, and what he thinks the problems might be.

I know, everybody has their pet theory about why “EVE is dying” this week.  I know I do.  If there isn’t a Reddit thread about it on any given day it is a minor miracle.  Most of them focus on symptoms and quick fixes or wishful thinking about turning back the clock to a more glorious era when we didn’t have… *checks notes*… warp to zero as an option.

Seriously, people are still bringing that up and that has been gone since the Revelations expansion back in 2006.

Anyway, Kazanir, who came back to EVE Online for World War Bee and got deeply involved in helping keep the coalition afloat and able to pay its bills, took his election to the CSM seriously and began to research what has happened over the years and how we got to where we are today.

His first discovery was that, so far as null sec is concerned at least, all the elements of the game have pretty much been in place since 2005’s Red Moon Rising expansion.  By that point the game had dreadnoughts, carriers, supercarriers (motherships back then), titans, tech II production, moon mining, player owned structures, null sec sovereignty, and the basics of everything that makes null sec what it is even today.

Yes, things have changed since then.  There is no AOE titan doomsdays through cynos obliterating whole subcap fleets… something else that gets asked for now and then on Reddit… and moon sovereignty is now two sov systems ago.  But the essentials were in place.

And with that things carried on and wars were fought about which books have been published.

Until they didn’t.  So the question became what changed, and Kazanir has two working theories on what is missing from the game.

  • Progression – The Curse of Cheap Capitals and Easy Skill Points

The first item Kazanir brought up was progression.  For a long time titans, while not as rare as CCP thought they would be, were still pretty special ships.  The battle at B-R5RB probably had more impact on the game than the two battles at M2-XFE because titans were just tougher to get back then.

Getting into a titan took a lot of time and planning and ISK.  Time and ISK were a barrier to capital proliferation and made titans an aspirational goal.  You had to work and wait to get one.  Even if you bought a titan pilot at the character bazaar, there was still ISK to be earned for both the pilot and the hull.

That went away for with some often discussed changes.  Rorquals, skill injectors, and the opening of the ISK faucet with super ratting all combined to make titans much more easily obtained.

If you could get into a carrier… and even I was able to get into a carrier before these changes… you could bulk up your wallet and spend the ISK on skill injectors to make a titan alt right away.  Or you could just buy PLEX and sell it on the market.  ISK was all around us.

Meanwhile, Rorqual mining… also a big ISK earner for pilots, though not an ISK faucet… made collecting all the minerals required to build capitals, all the way up to titans, but faster and cheaper.

Somewhere I have a screen shot of the price list from a capital building service in Delve back in the heyday of the titan boom and titan hulls were maybe 60 billion ISK, while supercarriers were under 20 billion.  It was a bonanza for pilots who wanted to fly big iron.

For Reavers Secret Santa a couple of years back I gave somebody a fully fit Apostle because it wasn’t even a 2 billion ISK spend.  Somebody gave me a Ninazu the next year.  No big deal.

It was clearly out of hand and CCP felt they had to do something about it.  After two years of slow nerfs to Rorquals and capital ratting, CCP decided to really bring the hammer down and we got austerity as a permanent feature of New Eden.

There is less ISK coming into the economy, everything costs more, and the resources to build things are harder to come by.  Did this solve the problem?

Kazanir says “no.”

What he sees is an end to progression.  After years of titans rolling off the assembly line like sausages, they are now very expensive to build or replace.  PLEX is more expensive.  Skill injectors are more expensive.  To get from new player to titan pilot is now a much more arduous journey… or expensive if you want to credit card your way into the big hulls.

Pilots, corps, and alliances that got in on the boom years now have a leg up.  Kazanir says that austerity helped us win World War Bee because the Imperium held enough of a capital advantage that we couldn’t be overwhelmed and the economy no longer supported the ability to catch up even though we were stuck in a single constellation in Delve.

So what should CCP do?

Kazanir’s idea is to restore progression, which means loosening up the economy and minerals at one end of things while adding more progression at the other end.  Tech II capitals, supers, and titans, more faction capitals, maybe something beyond titans… something to give people an aspiration goal, including those who already have a few titans sitting in hangars… that will also push the economy by increasing demand.  The velocity of ISK has been on a long downward trend, and now the concurrent player numbers have joined its slide.

He says that it can’t be a WoW-like progression treadmill.  But right now there is just stagnation due to CCP’s dramatic clamp down on the economy.

  • Moon Mining and the Value of Space

The other item that Kazanir brought up was that holding null sec space doesn’t have any particular value.  This was due to changes made by CCP to moon mining.

Moons used to be a big conflict driver.  We invaded Fountain and fought TEST back in 2013 ostensibly because we wanted their moons.  Treaties and unlikely alliances and wars of aggression were fought over moons.

One of the big Upwell structure changes was drilling platforms replacing the old moon mining POS arrays.  Moon mining went from a passive activity to a very active one where you needed multiple pilots to collect the yield of a frack.  As CCP Rattati told us all on Reddit, “solo moon mining isn’t a god given right.”

The problem, as Kazanir lays it out, is that there is no way to turn space profitable by taking it in any sort of reasonable time frame.  Back in the day you could bash somebody’s POS, replace it with your own, and be mining moon goo right away.  There is no conflict driver because moons take a month to get spun up, need a fleet to mine out, and the output is not all that valuable any more.

So there needs to be a new conflict driver in null sec that makes space worth holding, that makes it worth a small group grabbing some distant constellation or even a system so they can do something with it beyond planting a flag.

We’re out burning down FI.RE space right now, but we have no intention of keeping it.  It adds no value and is too far from home for us to hold and maintain and farm.

Does that mean we should go back to passive POS mining?  Probably not.  But something needs to drive conflict beyond the major powers just shooting each other in order to burn down some structures and go home.

  • Now What?

Is any of this true?  I mean, it sounds reasonable.  Certainly the traditional way for an MMO to get out of economic stagnation is to grow and inflate itself out the problem, to give players more money and expensive new toys to build or buy.  Players don’t love it when it becomes a recurring endless treadmill of progression.  But right now the veteran player base, the core of any game, has no real progression at all.

Likewise, the current structure and sovereignty system has been seen as more of an impediment that an incentive for war.  I’ve been on eight hour long sov tug of war battles where it is just a grind to see which side will get tired and go home.  That isn’t sparkling game play.

Can Kazanir do anything about this on the CSM?  Probably not.

He can bring his ideas to CCP, but they have to be receptive and, the current team running the game has been sticking to its guns that the only way to preserve the game is to keep the economy stuck in low gear lest players advance too quickly.

Anyway, it will be something to watch in the coming year.

I have tried to transmit Kazanir’s ideas to a blog post, but I fear I have not done him justice.  The fireside was recorded however, and that recording is up on a public server if you want to listen to him speak yourself.  It is about a 15 minute listen.

Kazanir starts speaking at the 5:40 mark if you wish to jump ahead and get straight to that.

Related:

Asher Ascendant and the New Age of Risk for the Imperium

insure your supers

-Asher, just before Operation Enho

On Thursday we got a big announcement.  Asher Elias, long time bloc level fleet commander and the Imperium sky marshal during World War Bee, was stepping up to lead Goonswarm Federation, and by extension the Imperium, filling the leadership vacuum left by the departure of The Mittani.

Welcome to the new regime.

You think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark.

I can’t actually remember why I threw together that Asher/Bane mash up image last year… there was probably some running gag on one of his fleets… but it was the only image of his character I had readily to hand.  And a new leader has to project a fearsome image, right?

Long time readers of this blog might find the name familiar.  Including this post I have 105 posts tagged with “Asher Elias” going back to a rupture fleet he ran back in 2014 where we got bombed into oblivion.

He has more positive mentions as leader of the Reavers SIG within the Imperium, founded back in 2015, which I happened to stumble into just as it was being formed, something that changed the game for me.

Reavers forum bee

I blame Asher and Reavers for my continuing to play EVE Online for the last seven years or so because going from main fleet to a SIG that did special operations and its own doctrines kept null sec alive and interesting for me.  A couple of times over the last few years I have thought it might be time to take a break… and then a Reavers deployment comes up and I am back in the game again.

In addition to being sky marshal and running the Reavers SIG he has run the Goonswarm alliance tournament team and currently stands as the pilot on the most kill mails in all of the Goonswarm Federation alliance, standing at 26,691 kills as I write this.

The GSF top five pilots based on kill mails – GinFOX is catching up

Known for his meticulous planning and audacious schemes… which includes trying to boosh subcaps into optimum range of a HAW dread to helping put together Operation Ehno, the attempt to trap and kill PAPI supers at YZ9-F6… he play the null sec fleet operations game at the highest level.

If there was anybody more unlike The Mittani when it came to the game, it would be hard to find them.  Mittens bragged about never logging in and playing the meta game, using the weekly Meta Show to harangue our foes and call them names in order to enrage them and get them to come at us.

Asher, while he has his own Twitch channel, is probably better known there and on YouTube for his League of Legends videos.  He is mild of temper and not prone to throwing insults or creating bad feelings.

In a prepared speech he read today (which you can listen to here or read here or at the end of this post) after TheAdj announced he would be taking over the reigns of the alliance and coalition, he charted out a different path forward.  Rather than going on weekly shows to mock our foes in order to get them to hate us, he said we would be pursing an in-game strategy of actually attack them and taking their space in order to get them mad at us.

As part of this the Imperium will be taking more risks, because risks lead to the type of fights that make this game memorable, that make ongoing tales of null sec worth writing books about.

He said during his speech that the Imperium had previously been following a line of simply not losing.  As an example, he said that after the twin battles on the Keepstar at M2-XFE he said our foes were demoralized, their titans trapped, and were worried that we would take out their Keepstar in NPC Delve, cutting their safe route into Delve.  They were alleged to be surprised that we did not move against them, choosing instead to abandon our defense of the Helms Deep systems and any pretense of attack in order to sit and camp their titans until they revived the morale of their line members and resumed grinding down Delve, and freeing most of their trapped titans in order to resume the offensive.

Asher, sky marshal of the Imperium, whose job was to coordinate and plan the strategy of the war, was forbidden by Imperium leadership from attacking the PAPI Keepstar in Delve.

The war could have been won, decisively, with an explosive battle, rather than being dragged out for months and months until the enemy finally retreated in dismay, undefeated in battle, but worn down by the long siege of 1DQ1-A.

The reason for the decision to leave the Keepstar alone was that to attack it contained an element of risk.  It would have been a gamble, and nobody at the top wanted to roll the dice.  So the war went on.

So part of Asher’s comments were that we would, as an organization, be taking more risks and committing more heavily to war.  His speech was followed up by a call to deploy more forces to the front in the war against FI.RE in Tenerifis and Immensea.  Capitals and supers were being moved.  The war was going to be dialed up, with the possibility that this escalation might bring a response from other groups.  We shall see.

But it is a different message with a different tone.  We will let the weight of our forces do the talking.

The only downside to this is that the responsibilities of state will likely keep Asher from being able to lead Reavers ops.  But I can say that the leader of the Imperium knows who I am.  And if you tackle my jump freighter, you can be sure I’ll mention that I know Asher Elias.

We don’t know how long he will remain in charge, though he did say in an interview on Theta Thursday that he wasn’t going to stick around for a dozen year like The Mittani did.

Related:

Text of Asher’s speech after the cut:

Continue reading

Fruits of the Cultural Revolution

When I went out to null sec back in late 2011, it was not without some trepidation.  I was going to join a friend out there and be part of a small corporation.  In the social structure of New Eden, the corporation is often the most basic unit, a small group that identifies together, very much the guild analog in EVE Online.

But the game takes it beyond that, and above corporations there are alliances, which are groups of corporations that can band together under a unified banner in order to work together.  Alliances are a meta-guild of sorts.

The players, ever ingenious, have managed to create their own social structures beyond what the game provides.  I often speak of the Imperium and PanFam and PAPI and FI.RE.  These are coalitions, alliances of alliances, an idea that has no official structure within the game.  But CCP gave us enough tools through standings and such to make them possible.

And then there are informal groups, at least so far as the game is concerned, what we call SIGs and Squads in the Imperium, but which exist in other alliances and coalitions, which try to group up people with like interests so they can do things together.

This is somewhat relevant to my own tale in null sec, which started with my joining a small corporation, BSC Legion, back in December of 2011 and getting mixed up in the never ending tale of war and drama that is null sec space in New Eden.  It may also relevant to where this post will go, though I won’t really know until I get there.

Back then the organization now known as the Imperium, at the time called the CFC, was a very different place.  This was after the great war between Band of Brothers and Goons, and null sec was a mix of survivors of the war, successor organizations, and some new groups.  It was very much the age of suspicion and spies and getting into a null sec corp required some thorough vetting and a vouch from somebody already in the corp.

And life in null sec was like a lot of other PvP games at the time.  There was a lot of casual racism, sexism, homophobia, and all the usual bad tropes of “gamer” culture, with no real incentive to change and a lot of people set in their ways.  The CEO of my first alliance, TNT, told us quite bluntly at one point that he would ban and blacklist anybody who complained to CCP about people posting porn in fleet chat, which was incredibly common at the time.  An occasional FC would ask people to go make a porn channel to keep fleet chat clear, but that was a rare thing indeed.

It was the price of playing the game… because it wasn’t just null sec that was like that.

Then things changed.  Sometime after the Fountain War Goonswarm and the CFC started to clean itself up.  The cultural revolution was declared.  A huge push was made to normalize better behavior.  The name was change to the Imperium.  We were no longer going to tolerate casual racism, sexism, antisemitism, homophobia, and other toxic behavior within our ranks.

This was not an easy lift.  There had been some efforts before to try to get people to tone down their behavior, at least in coalition level fleets, and it was met by a lot of push back.  There are a lot of fragile young men out there who feel less than whole if they can’t been abusive.  I recall many surly complaints about not being able to link porn in fleet chat or harass any female that showed up on voice chat.

But the cultural revolution, which was most loudly proclaimed by The Mittani, mostly succeeded.  It was directed primarily at Goonswarm and coalition operations, so other alliances in the coalition did what they pleased on their own time.  There had to be a second cultural revolution after the Casino War to stamp out corners of toxic behavior… a task made easier by the fact that the Imperium had shed some of the more toxic groups during the war… and some basic standard of behavior was created and enforced.  I have been on fleets where somebody slips into that old toxic behavior only to have the fleet commander firmly remind them that “we don’t do that here.”  It is always good to hear somebody in authority holding the line.

And I am sure somebody will point out that coalition member X said something toxic somewhere… in local, in the forums, on r/eve… and they are probably right.  There is no way to police this sort of standard outside of coalition sponsored operations.  But at least people could go on coalition operations and not be subject to that sort of thing.  Life was better.

As for why this happened, there are probably a few reasons, not the least of which is that unchecked toxic behavior tends to drive out your best players over time.

But this time frame was also a point of change in null sec.  Brave Newbies had showed up and, while not exactly a power house, demonstrated that an open recruitment policy and an eagerness to help new players could generate interest and put ships on grid.

In a game where “n+1” had long been the formula for victory, this simple method of recruiting people to fill fleets was a too good to pass up.  We were also entering the “farms and fields” era of null sec, where defense of sovereignty would depend on the Activity Defense Multiplier.  You would have to live in and use your space to make it defensible, and having more people made that easier.  Also, there would no longer be “bad” space in null sec, systems whose true security gave them little value.  Upgrades via infrastructure hubs would make any system viable for ratting, mining, and industry.

So the Imperium copied the Brave formula, grabbing some of their leadership along the way, and set about recreating it in the form of KarmaFleet.  Goonswarm already had a fairly strong training and informational program for new players, so this was expanded and evolved to handle new recruits that wanted to go to null sec.

All of this was a large set of changes to the organization, and it is hard to imagine that they could have occurred without somebody as driven and frankly ruthless as The Mittani championing them.  He had been out in front of this declaring that we shouldn’t be shitty to each other.  We were all in this together and should look out for and support each other.

This is the sort of thing that builds the bonds that gets people to hold out for more than a year against three to one odds, as happened in World War Bee.

So there has been a strong belief that, no matter what our foes say, that we’re the good guys, demonstrably better people than those who attack us.

Which isn’t to say that everything was perfect.  Individuals will be jerks of their own accord.

And so it was that somebody in the coalition was stalking and harassing one of their female corp mates.  The corporation diplomats asked the coalition to ban and blacklist that person, but the coalition wanted more information.  The victim of the harassment sent more information, however nothing happened for four months, so she began complaining in the alliance forum about it to get attention.

This got the attention desired and the harasser was banned.

But so was the victim.

That was obviously wrong and the victim was unbanned.

If that were it, and my summation here is grossly simplified, it would have been bad but something to be learned from.  Mistakes get made, but they are only wasted if we fail to use them to improve.  The first I heard about any of this was a ping went out about the coalition needing a harassment policy because part of the excuse was that people handling this were not sure what to do.

But then people who were calling for the victim to be unbanned then got banned.  The victim and their defenders were banned for drama.

And there was The Mittani, in the middle of this, banning people, blaming the victim, and generally being an ass.  Quotes from him, posted all over r/eve, were the first thing I saw that made me feel that something was really wrong.

The Mittani as imagined by CCP in a video from The Scope

As more leaks came out I really began to think it might be time to leave.  This wasn’t what we fought for in the past.  I started calculating in my head what I ought to do to get out… sell my caps, ship smaller stuff to Jita… and be done with it.  This was not where the cultural revolution was supposed to lead us… or rather, it seemed to be pointing out that being better only applied to line members, that those in power could continue to behave badly behind closed doors, something we see all to often in the real world where rules only apply to those down the food chain.

That was on Wednesday evening, and I mulled it over on Thursday as more leaks sprung revealing what was going on at the top.

Then, Friday morning, The Mittani resigned.  He put out a statement that was posted over at INN about his reasons for leaving, highlighting people dragging his personal life into the fray.  And that was no doubt so.  He has made a lot of enemies and there are a host of people on r/eve and Something Awful that will drag him at every opportunity.

But there isn’t anybody outside of the Imperium who can take credit for this, though they are trying to.

The call came from inside the house.

This was an internal revolt.  When leadership chats are leaking, it is because people are not happy inside and they can’t see being able to make any change without going public.

So The Mittani has stepped down, handed over the keys to the alliance, driven there, arguably, by the cultural revolution he championed years back.

What happens next?  That remains to be seen.  Internal dissent won’t be quelled by shuffling the deck chairs.  But there are also people who feel The Mittani did no wrong, some still in leadership positions.  Goon unity is an illusion, except when people bunch us into a collective group to take a swing at us.  Outside attacks bring us together.  But left to our own the Imperium is a large and diverse group and no stereotype fits.

And how does the Imperium and Goonswarm Federation move forward from this?

The Mittani has often openly declared the organization to be an autocracy, and like its real world counterparts, it had a strong and recognizable main leader and then a host of others doing the real work mostly behind the scenes.  That means that there is no immediate and obvious heir to the leadership role.  Some care takers have taken over the main roles, but there isn’t anybody at the top now whose voice I would recognize on coms, much less know what they really do in the Coalition.

All of this has happened not too long after the ten year anniversary of the notorious “wizard hat” incident when The Mittani encouraged people during his alliance panel presentation to harass a player who claimed to be suicidal.  The Mittani apologized the next day and attempted to make good with the player in question, but CCP revoked his election to CSM 7 and banned him from the game for 30 days.

Anyway, that was an unexpected turn at the end of a disappointing week.  And, as often happens with EVE Online, now I feel I have to stick around just to find out what happens next.  I do not expect that there will be much immediate impact.  The wheels of the coalition will continue to grind on, I will still log in and fly with the same people in the same time slots and the same SIGs that I usually do.

But this could lead to a dramatic change over time.  Leaders of Goonswarm have generally left their mark on the organization, and none have led as long as The Mittani, so what happens next remains to be seen.

Related:

Blowing Up Stabbers in GE-8JV

War is on in null sec… two wars actually.  There is the Imperium, which has mobilized and moved into Catch in a war declared against null sec rental empires, which is currently focused on attacking FI.RE in Tenerifis and Immensea.  And then there is Fraternity, which has decided to stomp on V0LTA and Brave in Pure Blind, which seems like it should be a route, but the defenders get to defend in their own time zone, which is not Frat’s core time zone, so the underdogs have been hanging on for now.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had a lot of time for war.  Things at home are such that carving out a few hours to go on a strat op to take sovereignty… that takes a while… just hasn’t been in the cards.  I see strat ops get announced and go off knowing I just don’t have that much time.

Every so often though, there is an op that comes up that I can join in on.

Pandemic Horde has been making regular runs at the Ansiblex in GE-8JV, the staging system we are currently using.  They pull together a fleet of Stabbers, inexpensive but fast and reasonably hard hitting cruisers, and zip into the system to take a shot at the jump bridge network.  They usually show up in significant numbers, which means we have to form a counter fleet in order to chase them off, lest they succeed in burning down our travel network.

Stabbers hanging around the acceleration gate to the ESS

Those fleets are short and sharp and can be a lot of fun.  There is room for us to get screw up, and the Stabbers have gotten the best of us a few times, inflicted some damage and gotten away without paying much of a price.  But sometimes we land on them, bubble them up, and then there isn’t much guesswork in the outcome if we’ve brought the right ships.

Eagles, a heavy assault cruiser, is overkill for the job, but offsets the numbers if we come up short.  If we undock Eagles their job becomes getting away and some skill or luck… or both… is involved in pinning them down.  But when we manage it, it tend to be a slaughter.  The go after our logi when cornered, which are much more expensive hulls.

I have been in a few of those fleets now, not all of them successful.  Sometimes you log in and they get away.  Sometimes you land on top of them, bubble them up, and start burning down targets.

Chasing them through a bubble and a gate

One of those fleets was a bit of an old time revival, as Dabigredboat (DBRB) showed up as FC.  He was a regular FC in many of my early ops in the coalition, but has had a career and marriage and all the usual complications of life take him away from the game.  But there he was, as boisterous as ever, flying us around in Eagles chasing Stabbers.

Who is leading the fleet? DBRB!

So I haven’t been doing a lot in the war and I don’t have much to report that you can’t just figure out by going over to DOTLAN and looking at who owns the ihubs in the northwest of Tenerifis.  But I have managed to pad my killboard with some Stabbers this month, so I have that going for me.

The Imperium Deploys East for War

The Initiative and the Goon Expeditionary Force just spent two months burning down FI.RE’s territory, sweeping clear the flood plains before their home, arriving at the gates of the main staging system in Tenerifis.  We returned from that operation at the end of the first week of the month.

Capital ships taking a gate on the way home

That expedition came about because FI.RE and their PAPI allies were poking at our eastern border.

The lesson did not stick though.  Soon after we withdrew FI.RE and PAPI… not that there is much of a distinction between the two at this moment… returned to our eastern border and began attacking structures, culminating in the destruction of a Dracarys Keepstar in 68FT-6.

If that system sounds familiar, it might be because that was where Judgement Day occurred, when The Judge sold out Circle of Two, handing their Keepstar over to the Imperium, leading CO2 to implode after their leader was banned for threatening to cut off The Judge’s hands.

Good times

But I digress.

Instead of a weekly fireside update, yesterday was scheduled as a State of the Goonion address, at which The Mittani would deliver a short address after which forces would be mustered and move ops would begin.

The full text of the State of the Goonion has been posted over at INN.  But, in summary, this was all BS and we weren’t going to stand for it any more.  The full weight of the Imperium’s war machine would hove eastward to deal with this menace.  Impass is something of a fringe zone, not really in our space but we have assets there.  The hard line is at the Catch border, so we will be going there.

Some new doctrines will be in use, which meant I had to come up with some new ships (at which I failed, the market was bare by the time I got there) and older ones would be left behind. (I still have too many Megathrons sitting around, bought in anticipation of the final climactic battle in 1DQ that never came.)  At least I had a couple of Eagles on hand, as that was one of the doctrines going to the front.

And the movement of forces eastward began.

I was actually busy at home and missed the first round of move ops, which was probably fine.  The first op was a combined capital and sub-caps op, which always moves very slowly.  I did several of those on on the GEF deployment and they can be trying.  And, by the time I was ready to move there was a sub-cap only move op going, which took all of ten minutes to run from undock in 1DQ1-A to arrival in our staging Keepstar.

Heading eastward through an Ansiblex

There were ops starting not long after I arrived.  But, as usual, I brought the wrong ship first and couldn’t go along.  But I got out on the first day of deployment, which is usually a good thing.  I will wait for the supply train to catch up and buy whatever else I need out there.

And the propaganda war has begun.  The meme engines are revving up.  Soon I predict the most popular thing to complain about on r/eve will be people posting about the war.

Just two years ago World War Bee kicked off.  Are we on to another big war again?

Related:

The Battle of the Loot Pinata at R-ARKN

As I posted last week, the Army of Mango Alliance (AOM) got themselves into a bind and tried to escape it by transferring a couple Keepstars, including their main staging Keepstar, to the GSF in an attempt to reverse merge themselves into the protective arms of the Imperium by joining Ranger Regiment, which they may or may not have controlled. (More null sec spy drama.)

This did not work out well for AOM as the Imperium was not favorably disposed to being dragged into their war with Fraternity.  Again, lots of back story there which I at least briefly covered last week.

So the Imperium agreed to allow AOM 48 hours to get the stuff out of the main Keepstar before the cloning serviced were turned off and the fuel removed, the latter putting the structure on a 7 day timer to the abandoned state.

The abandoned state was introduced by CCP as part of the Forsaken Fortress update back in May of 2020, which streamlined the ability to kill unfueled structures.  The abandoned state also removed asset safety, a feature they had said was very important to have if players were going to trust Upwell structures.  And then CCP changed their mind.  Without asset safety, all items in hangars, personal, corp, or otherwise, get ejected into space in containers when the structure is destroyed.

This led to an orgy of structure killing, where some organizations were killing structures on the test server, where most everything is unfueled, to find the ones with the best loot so they could target their efforts.  The Imperium went around its own territory shooting friendly structures to keep outsiders from looting neglected corp help citadels.

So lots of loot has spilled from abandoned structures in New Eden, but there had yet to be a staging Keepstar in abandoned state show up.

Okay, there were a couple of Keepstars in wormhole space.  The J115404 wormhole adventures saw not one, but two Keepstars blown up.  But even as packed as they were, being in W space limits what can get to the and how much can be carried off… and if you have control of the hole, who can even participate.

But a staging Keepstar in normal space, packed full of stuff and in a location that any determined group could reach… that was a new set of circumstances.  And the time for this event was Sunday morning USTZ, late afternoon EUTZ.

Waiting on the abandoned Keepstar for the order to shoot

Fraternity had been out in R-ARKN helping us camp the Keepstar once the fuel had been removed, as they were very interested in keeping AOM from extracting anything once their evacuation window had closed.  They were still on scene in great numbers, despite the early hour for them, when I arrived.  We had a truce with them for the camp, though that was set to end as soon as the Keepstar shoot began.  We did not want to share loot with them.

Also, due to organization shifts due to the AOM shenanigans, Fraternity had a war declaration against us, so their members were easy to spot as they were all flashing red in my overview.  Frat had attempted to end the war, according to my notifications, but it was still in effect when I got to R-ARKN, for all that mattered in null sec space.

Frat says, “Let’s call the whole thing off”

I ran out to R-ARKN in an Ares interceptor most out of habit.  I was several jumps along the route when somebody said I should use a shuttle as they now have warp bubble nullification, but I carried on.  The Ares would end up having some use later.

I was joining up with some Reavers in system who had been given a special task.  We were to fly some jamming Scorpions and do… something.  I wasn’t quite clear on the plan, which was expressed in a hand-waving sort of way.  But I got on the target Keepstar and minded the hostiles coming and going, trying to get on the kill mail.

Just hanging out mostly

I had some drones, so I put one on the Keepstar to get on the kill mail myself and mostly just watched.  I set off the ECM burst jammer once, when I was in the middle of a bunch of Frat shuttles and rookie ships, and got a scolding because the 71km range of it meant that I broke lock for a lot of Imperium pilots.  But I got on a few small kill mails, because I was too slow to lock up anything otherwise.  We had a Cormorant fleet hovering around picking off small stuff.

The shoot itself was just another structure shoot really.  It took a lot longer than normal as we had to go from shield through structure in one sitting.  Usually you make three trips for shield, armor, and structure.  And time dilation was kicking in.  There were about 2,500 people in system when it started, but the number kept growing as people tried to squeeze in for the big loot fest.

I’ve done this a few times before

You can see that The Initiative brought some titans in to helps speed things along.

Somebody bought a Doctor Who SKIN for their Avatar

All told it took about three hours from when shooting started until we got a kill mail… which was good, because sometimes we don’t get a kill mail if too many people are involved.

And then the fun began as the structure disappeared and hangar containers began popping out into space in a ball around the wreck.

Cans appearing as the explosion starts

By then we were past 3,500 people in system and headed to the peak of about 4,100, and everybody was crowding in to the loot field.

The ball of chaos

You can barely see the containers due to so many people being on grid around the wreck, digging through ones that appears, ejecting ships… which added to the bracket chaos… and trying to grab what they could.  I did have an overview setup for objects, and got a better screen shot once I found it.

The ball of hangar containers

And, more amazingly, the node did not crash.  The belief is that this was because the system only loads hangar containers when it has the capacity to do so, which meant that the containers were spawning for a couple of hours after the kill, but it kept the system stable… if at 10% time dilation.

Past 4K in system

It was actually a busy day in New Eden, with 35,479 logged in at the peak on Sunday.  While there was the Doctor Who event going on, more than 11% of those logged in were in system with us.

The loot frenzy turned out to be the high point of the whole event.  Several groups including TEST, NCDot, and Fraternity, attempted to get away with valuable items.  Frat, who had a structure nearby, was especially persistent, warping in shuttles or rookie ships and then abandoning them to jump in more valuable hulls.

Our group of Scorpions had been told we could stand down, so I went back to the Fortizar we had on grid and contracted mine back.  Then I got in my Ares and went flying around to see what I could see.  I didn’t have any room for loot really, and people were grabbing with both hands, so unless I was dying for a cargo hold full of cap batteries, I wasn’t going to find much.

But I had a fast interceptor and could go tackle some bads trying to make off with loot.  The first I managed to grab a Kikimorra and help hold him down.  Then I put up my capital overview and saw a Frat pilot trying to make off with a Rorqual.  I flew over there at full speed and help shut him down.

A Rorqual tackled

Then I saw somebody board a Nyx and try to warp off.  I went after him.

A Nyx being stolen from the loot pile

I did not get there in time, but he ended up getting trapped in a bubble on the way out, eating some doomsdays for his trouble.

A Nyx caught and shot

I chased a few others around, but the titans in the center of the ball had the range and firepower to zap most capitals that were being stolen.

Another Rorqual being hit

The battle report run up for the event shows nearly half a trillion ISK in ships and such destroyed, with lots of capitals blown up as non-Imperium groups tried to swipe them.

With the in-game map set to highlight ship kills it wasn’t hard at all to spot the system way down in Esoteria.

It kind of stands out there at the bottom

The map put the last 24 hours of kills at over 9K

That is ships in the last 24 hours

Meanwhile, over at DOTLAN EVE Maps, R-ARKN topped the charts.

Ships and capsules destroyed

I think the difference is that the in-game map counts ships currently being flown while DOTLAN may include unoccupied ships that were destroyed, and there were a lot of those on the field getting blown up.

It looks like both sides lost a lot of stuff, but the thing to remember is that it was all a giant slap fight mostly using AOM’s assets.  They are the ones who are out that half a trillion, plus whatever people got away with.

And people got away with plenty.  I saw a couple of supers grabbed by hostiles warp off or jump out successfully.  The Imperium is still counting its loot, but it looks like the state, which claimed all caps and structures, got a titan, a dozen and a half supers, more than 30 other capital ships, a Sotiyo, four Fortizars, and piles of fuel and related stuff.

Then there are the individual hauls.  Some people did quite well.  There were plenty of nice items on the field if you could grab them in time.  I saw quite a few faction ships get scooped up.  It was quite the event and not your every day structure shoot.

Backlit Keepstar being shot

I personally made off with nothing, save for screen shots.  But I was there for the spectacle, to be there when another New Eden player event came off.  Maybe not one for the record books, but it was quite the sight all the same.

Related:

The Army of Mango Alliance Attempts a Self Destruct to Flee Fraternity

World War Bee has been in the past for months now, but that doesn’t mean null sec space is quiet.  Nobody is assaulting Delve at the moment, but there are still many stories unfolding in the space noir epic that is the wilds of null sec as we settle into the post war reality.  Brave has been trying to establish a home, TEST has been falling apart in Outer Passage, and for some reason we’re fighting with Triumvirate in Cloud Ring.

It has all been relatively low key, at least when compared to the war, and out away from Delve, which means I haven’t seen much of it in person.

And then this past weekend The Army of Mango Alliance got caught trying to reverse merge themselves into the Imperium and… well… I’ve read the reporting over at the New Eden Post and have heard The Mittani try to explain it twice, once on the Meta Show and once at our weekly fireside and I am not sure I understand how the plan was supposed to work or who exactly they thought it was going to fool.

But let me reel that back in for a minute to set up the situation.  One of the post war events that had comes to pass recently was a war breaking out between Fraternity and Army of Mango.

This was not a huge surprise to anybody paying attention… or even people like me who were simply not asleep that day in class.

Faternity and Army of Mango are, along with a few other corps and alliances, part of the great exodus from Serenity, the mainland Chinese EVE Online server, which occurred when one group, the Pan-Intergalactic Business Community, won the game by becoming the single unassailable dominate power in null sec.  The influence map was them and those who paid tribute to them.

Some of life on the Serenity server was covered by the Rooks & Kings videos Message in a Bottle and First Light on the Fifth Day, the latter covering a final battle in wormhole space.  But the end of the war led many to exit the server… though, as I understand it, the Chinese company that had been running it at the time wasn’t helping much.

And many pilots who liked the game on Serenity came here, where there was not a single dominant power.  (So, among other things, the player count on Tranquility was boosted by players from Serenity.)

Those players brought with them the grudges from Serenity and can generally be sorted out into the winners and losers camp if you know who is who.  Fraternity and Army of Mango have generally been the two groups most at odds, and while they managed to cooperate during World War Bee, joining the PAPI coalition against the Imperium, things have been tense and some wondered if they might start fighting each other there on the front lines.

But at week seventeen of the war Army of Mango stepped back from the front lines to assume stewardship of the Legacy Coalition’s backfield, trying to tamp down the then incipient harassment as The Bastion rolled into Esoteria to take a few systems and be an annoyance.

When PAPI gave up the invasion and turned for home, Army of Mango managed to scoop up much of the territory TEST left behind as Vily and PGL sought shelter as far away from angry Goons as they could.  There AOM began to form a new coalition with some remnants of Legacy, bringing back the Pan-Intergalactic Business Community name from the Serenity server, which was pretty much the same as waving a red flag and shouting “come get me” at Fraternity.

Once alliances were settled and rested, Fraternity went straight for Army of Mango and, though they were rebuffed on their first assault, the writing seemed to be on the wall that Frat was going to win over time.

Army of Mango decided they needed an out and sought to sneak into the Imperium.  They transferred some structures, including their main staging Keepstar, to GSF and told their members that they were going to disband the alliance and fold themselves into Ranger Regiment, another of the Chinese diaspora groups from the Serenity server.

Ranger Regiment, which joined the Imperium as a candidate member back in February of 2020 when they were driven out of their space by Fraternity, was already in a bad odor in the Imperium for low participation in the war.  To hear the leadership of Army of Mango go on about it to their members, it seems that Ranger Regiment was at least aligned with, and possibly being run by, Army of Mango.  Kind of a bit of interesting post war news.

So the plan, as explained by the leadership of Army of Mango, was to ditch their alliance and move their existing structure, including their leadership, into Ranger Regiment, taking over the alliance and carrying on from there, safe from Fraternity.  How very sneaky.

Unfortunately for Army of Mango, the leadership of the Imperium did not just fall off the back of a turnip truck, so this did not go unnoticed as the structure transfers were noticed and spies reported back with with what was going on and, soon enough, full translations of what was said.

Pancake Wolf got a medal for work on intel

Once the attention of the Imperium was focused on what was happening, updates began flowing back in near real time as Army of Mango tried to carry on, then found themselves in a bind as the Imperium wasn’t having it.  We were not going to be a patsy for Army of Mango or allow ourselves to be dragged into the middle of their war with Fraternity.

The Imperium honored a short period that had been negotiated to allow Army of Mango line members to evacuate from their staging, and then the hammer fell, zapping the clones left in the Keepstar.

3,277 clones about to be destroyed

(image courtesy of The Mittani, who pressed the “yes” button.)

Meanwhile, Ranger Regiment is being kicked from the Imperium for their part in this.  They were already in trouble, but being involved in this scheme was too much.  This has led to a scramble for homes for a large number of players from both alliances.

Army of Mango down 3,800 and counting

Dracarys, another Chinese alliance in the Imperium, has picked up quite a few new members due to this shift.  They put in a strong performance in World War Bee and hold some former Legacy Coalition space in Catch along with connecting space in Querious.  However, the word is that groups coming into the Imperium must be vetted thoroughly and nobody in the Army of Mango or Ranger Regiment leadership team is welcome.

So there looks to be a shake up coming on who owns what in the south end of null sec as it does not seem like Army of Mango and Ranger Regiment are going to be able to hold onto that space.

South null sec – Jan 10, 2022

Ranger Regiment is set to disband and Army of Mango, which now has no place to land so has to carry on existing, is planning to head to low sec space for now.  The Pan-Intergalactic Business Community coalition has effectively been destroyed. Fraternity wins this round.

This has also led to what is set to be a major null sec event.

The Imperium pulled the fuel from the Keepstar in R-ARKN so it will go into an abandoned state and will be blowing it up this coming weekend.  Unlike an normal Keepstar destruction in null sec, this will lead to everything left in people’s hangars being ejected into space when the structure blows up.

This could turn out to be the ultimate New Eden loot pinata.  Every player’s stuff gets launched into space in a station hangar and people will be rummaging through them looking for ships and modules and anything of value.

I’ve seen something like this before in wormhole space when we got to go along with The Initiative to blow up a couple Hard Knocks Keepstars back in 2018.  There, in the J115405 wormhole, sometimes known as Rage, we first blew up Fort Knocks.

The loot ball with markers on

Then we blew up Unassailable Wealth.

The Initiative showing off with their logo in spaceships

That was a huge amount of loot on the field, and it was a crazy time.

I suspect that the Keepstar in R-ARKN will throw a few times as many station containers into space when it blows.  It seems likely that the server will just crash when it happens.  But if the server holds, we’ll be out there scooping loot for a long time.  Imperium leadership is already planning out how to deal with it.

Of course, other groups might want some of that loot as well, so the whole thing could simply devolve into an ongoing slap fight over who gets what.

I wonder if CCP should contact Guinness Book for this.  Is there a world record category for most loot on the field in a video game?

Related:

 

Consolidating for Casino War II

The word is out that war may be coming to us again.

In the middle of last week there was a special weekday fireside chat in the Imperium where The Mittani told us that, based on intel received, a chunk of New Eden might be forming up to take another shot at us.  For the first time since we were driven out of the north and started our move to Delve war will be coming to find us.

This past weekend the regular weekly fireside repeated this message and the weekend was spent on preparations for a possible war.  If was was coming, we needed to tighten up out lines of defense and be ready.

Since we set up shop in Delve back in 2016 most of our time fighting has been part of deployments to other regions.  From our foray to Hakonen three years back to the current Cloud Ring deployment, we had been on the road a lot.  The Eye of Terror Jump bridge network extends all the way up into Pure Blind.  We had a staging Keepstar for a while in KQK1-2, on the edge of Tribute, far from home, left over from driving PanFam out of Tribute and Vale.  That one got killed when we tried to remove it via stealth.  The rest of them will be taken down with fleets watching over them as we prepare.

And so I spent some time over the weekend shepherding fleets here and there, keeping capitals safe and hostiles at bay.

Watching big stuff jump and gate

The Goonswarm Expeditionary Force deployment was pulled back from Cloud Ring to Fountain… basically two jumps… to put fleets within the perimeter of the Imperium.  I managed to get all three ships I had there back on the first try.

Mostly though it was watching capital blobs move here and there, getting ready for operations in the coming week to cover structure removal.

Capital will blob up

After that we will be back to our core areas, which are Delve, Fountain, Period Basis, and a little bit of Querious.

The thought of war, of hostiles coming for us, did spur some enthusiasm in those of us who were around through the time in Saranen, when hostile fleets were on the station undock most hours of the day.  Despite the loss and the retreat, it is a time looked back on fondly by many of us for the pretty much non-stop action.  We would form up, undock, fight, dock up, and then do it again.  I probably went on more ops during that time than I have done in any comparable time frame.

Then the situation became untenable as our ISK balance ran down while the hostiles enjoyed essentially unlimited ISK from the now banned casinos.

Things are, of course, much different now.  Delve is much more of a fortress than Deklein ever was.  We won’t be as concentrated as we were in Saranen, as our space is still a lot of ground to cover.

Part of me felt during the fireside on Saturday that this might be all too much to hope for.  With Guardians of the Galaxy/Dead Coalition actually dead and gone, we are back to a tri-polar set of super powers in null sec.  There is PanFam and its allies in the northeast, Legacy Coalition in the southeast, and the Imperium in the southwest.  It isn’t unlikely that two of those powers would join forces against the third.  Certainly Legacy and the Imperium have joined up a few times to go after PanFam.

But PanFam isn’t that close to us now, with a few regions laying between the and Fountain, and they have not shown an inclination to deploy that far from home.  Legacy Coalition butts right up against us, but we have a non-invasion pact, the NIP, with them.  We are not blue with them and we shoot each other freely and roam each other’s space, but the NIP keeps it to that.  We don’t shoot each others structures in the home spaces of the others and we don’t mess with sovereignty.

So one of the questions at the fireside on Saturday was, “What about the NIP?”  It was, at that time, still in place and The Mittani said that if Legacy broke it without warning there would never be another agreement between the two coalitions again.  And without breaking it, an invasion seemed unlikely.

But all this intel could have been wrong.  Intel often gets interpreted with more hope than reality.  People might be seeing shadows.  And Goons have a certain level of institutional paranoia built into their mind set about the galaxy being out to get them.

But it is probably still a good thing to clean up our forward outposts and be ready just in case.  And, since the even the most basic spy has access to the firesides, the word quickly spread.  Over on r/eve the attitude seems mostly dismissive of the idea and was viewed as a chance to mock The Mittani.

And then yesterday an announcement came up on Reddit.  Legacy Coalition announced that the NIP between them and the Imperium would expire on July 5, 2020, basically giving two weeks notice, with a strong indication that war would come then.  The tone on r/eve changed some.  Skepticism remains, but there is also some hope for a big war and the propaganda machines are starting to roll out fresh memes.  Look at all those pink “propaganda” tags in the subreddit today.

We shall see where this ends up.  There is work to be done all around between now and then.

Other coverage:

Addendum: I am reliably informed that the Imperium plans to call this war, should it come to pass, “World War Bee” because “screw your narrative.”  So I guess I can get that tag going for real now.

Rebuffed Again in X-7OMU

We had another op out of Cloud Ring run last night.  The ping popped up as I was sitting down, so I logged right in and got in the fleet.  We were once again headed out in Sacrileges, so I went with the logi wing in my Guardian.  As we were getting ready I stepped away for a minute, got distracted, and when I got back I heard the FC, Kocicek, telling us to align for the Ansiblex.  I quickly hit the undock button and got out just in time to pick up the warp and follow the fleet, jumping through not too far behind.  By the next gate I was caught up.

Sac fleet outbound

We took the same route we took the other day after the move op, heading up to 6RCQ and into Pure Blind.  It was gate, Ansiblex, gate, and so on until we hit our first waypoint, KLY-C0.  There an armor timer was coming out on a Pandemic Horde Raitaru, which we formed up and shot, sending it to the final timer.

Just a blob of us flying around

That done, we warped off to a Fortizar of our own and met up with a titan who quickly bridged us off to our next destination, X-7OMU.

Off we go

There again.  That was where we had a tough time after the move op, and PanFam and the locals were formed up and waiting for us again, with Abaddons and Muninns and capital support, again.  This was another armor timer, thus not the final fight for the structure, so I suppose there was some question as to whether they would show up.  Question answered.

We got on grid with the Astrahus, as we did back on Saturday, and started putting damage on it as the time came out.

Circling the Astrahus

Unlike the last fight, where we left the citadel grid to take the fight elsewhere, this time we stuck it out.  It did not go well.  The gunner on the Astrahus was throwing a mix of damage and void bombs at us, the latter which can disrupt even cap chaining Guardians.  The void bomb hits and your capacitor is suddenly empty to the point that your cap transfer modules turn off and if you’re not paying attention you can find yourself drained and falling behind.

Meanwhile the damage bombs were keeping everybody broadcasting while the web on the Astrahus was on our anchor to slow us down, though we kept swapping anchors in order to mitigate that.  And then the hostile fleets came out to get us.  Things seemed to fall apart about then, though I was very busy following broadcasts for damage.

At one point Kocicek warped us and I caught the warp just as an interdictor bubbled the fleet, so I was alone until I could turn around and warp back to the fleet with a couple other ships that happened to be as quick to align as I.  That broke the cap chain where I was until I got back in range, by which time one of my cap buddies was down, as were two of the alternate anchors.

Kocicek told us to starburst as a bubble went up and warp to a safe.  I was getting yellow boxed as that happened, but had quickly scooted out of the bubble that was on us and was warping off as damage began to hit.  I was going to get away.

Almost on my way out… just pixels left on that align bar…

And then another bubble went up and I was just inside of it, cancelling my warp.  I scooted out of that, overheated my hardeners, and set myself to warp once more.  Damage was landing and I had to move to align and things looked pretty dicey for a bit there.  And the warp drive kicked in and I was off.

The hull is still half full, right?

I had warped to a planet, but wanted to get away from there, so warped to another in order to make at least a mid-point bookmark.  But X-7OMU is one of those huge systems and I fell out of warp before I made it to my destination, my capacitor drained.

So there I was, wandering at a mid-point in the system, halfway into my structure, heat damage on my lowers (and no nanite repair paste, I seemed to have forgotten it), and not really in any shape to do anything but hide.  However, Kocicek spoke up and told us to warp to him when he said to… so I got that up and ready to click… and he said “Warp to me…” and I was off.  And then he counted down from three, so I landed way off from him, but still on grid and close enough to get the fleet warp that pulled us all off to the J-CIJV gate, where we jumped out of the system.

An unguarded way out

We went from there to G95-VZ where we tethered up on yet another Fortizar we have hanging around the region and the repair function slowly took care of my hull, armor, shields, and heat damage.

Repairing on the Fort

From there the way home was pretty straightforward.  Once everybody was ready we made our way back to the end of the Ansiblex network and headed back to Cloud Ring from whence we had started.

Back in the Cloud Ring nebula

The fight, such that it was, did not go well for us.  The battle report, which looks incomplete to me… though if you don’t get on a kill you don’t appear on the list and we got precious few kills… shows us taking a pasting for very little gain.  We lost the objective and over 100 ships for only 9 real kills.

Battle Report Header – Click to Enlarge

But we cannot win them all.  Mistakes were made, ships were lost, and hopefully some lessons were learned, as I am sure we will be back again.

During the fight I did see Riverini get called as a target, one of the few I I recall coming up.  The experience of the fight was invigorating enough that he actually wrote about in on EN24, his first post in quite a while.  There was also a short AAR on Reddit, again highlighting that this was not a shining moment for the Imperium.