Tag Archives: Keepstar

Bubble Wrap Plan Gets a PAPI Keepstar Anchored in NPC Delve

When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. And that one sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, Son, the strongest castle in all of England.

King of Swamp Castle, who only took four tries to get his castle built

On the bright side, the Imperium didn’t have to sacrifice another trillion ISK in ships.

Today saw the fifth attempt by PAPI to get a Keepstar planted in NPC Delve, this time in YZ9-F6, the site of the failed trap last week.  When the Imperium jumped in and warped to the structure to start the fight, we found it surrounded by 149 warp disruption bubbles.

Bubble wrapped Keepstar

There were also dictors putting up bubbles inside the bubbles and various groups of hostiles deployed around the Keepstar.

When the timer hit zero they managed to get the Quantum Core in right away, so we didn’t even get the free hits we got away with last time around.  But there were so many objects on grid that people were getting disconnected as they warped onto grid.  There was a momentary discussion about what we should do, but the timer was ticking down in real time.  In the end, there did not seem to be a way forward, so after some small clashes we turned around and went home.

Bubble fly by

The battle report shows a very small amount of losses compared to previous battles.

Battle Report Header

I had to go in and fix the battle report to get people on the correct sides.  That is a sure sign that not much happened, when the BR tool doesn’t know where to put people.

We were, of course, out numbered as usual, though not by the margin that the BR might suggest.  There was around 4,500 people in local, so the numbers on the BR are an under count of people who who showed up, since it only grabs people who were on a kill mail.

4,438 in local as the timer started

If you came and left without blowing something up (or getting blown up yourself), you were not added to the tally.

Bubbles in bubbles with more bubbles showing up

So PAPI has their foothold in NPC Delve.  Now where will they go from there?  Have they changed their mind about avoiding our Keepstars?  Or has the past two weeks of fighting in NPC Delve convinced them that would be a bad idea?  Either way, some of us got most of our Sunday back to do other things.  But somebody had to hang around and clean up those bubbles.

Other coverage:

Another PAPI Keepstar Destroyed in Delve

I woke up this morning to find that PAPI, the Snek Coalition, had finally decided to go for it again and dropped another Keepstar in NPC Delve.  This time they chose 319-3D as their target system.

This was apparently a flash drop in an attempt to take us unawares as PAPI did not stand up their own forces until the Keepstar was deployed.  That meant our early response was able to put down damage immediately on arriving without an organized resistance ready, so the first 40% of the structure was knocked down with very little in the way of time dilation in play.

By the time I got online and into the fight, the Keepstar structure was already at 42% with the timer paused at seven and a half minutes.

The timer held at 7:28

As with the Keepstar fights on Monday and Tuesday of last week, the Imperium organized fleets and concentrated on shooting the structure, ignoring the hostile ships on grid.  I was able to get into one of the support fleets that helped keep the enemy distracted while the battleships and dreadnoughts did the heavy lifting to kill the Keepstar.

Imperium dreads lined up to warp to the fight

I kept busy and got to watch for the final three hours of the five hour flight.

On grid at the fight

This fight wasn’t going to break any records, unlike the fight in FWST-8 on Tuesday, but there were still between 4,400 and 4,600 people in local for most of the time.

A count mid fight, tidi in full

There wasn’t much in the way of drama when it came to the fight.  Having done this twice already, and having had time to refine tactics and resupply, we never had a moment where the timer started counting down again or really any doubt that the structure would be destroyed.  The enemy stayed on grid to harvest kill mails, but could not stop us from winning the objective.  This did not make the enemy as happy as you might think.

Redline XIII comments in Twitch chat on INN

With the conclusion forgone, it was just a matter of time before the structure was destroyed and the battle over.

Early battle reports show that, while the ISK was heavily favored the defenders, killing this Keepstar cost the Imperium about half of what the fight on Tuesday cost.

Battle Report Header – Updated Version

[Edit: battle report header image updated as more kills have come in. Original here.]

There was, again, no kill mail for the Keepstar, so you can once again add 187 billion ISK to the PAPI side of the chart.

The server seemed stable for the most part, though at one point there was a combined bombing run that made everything stop and chug along for a bit, before resuming the slow pace of 10% tidi.

This time around it looks like CCP left the bounty payments system running.  I saw calls related to that throughout the fight.

Bounty calls piling up

CCP did say that they might leave those calls on for a fight to see how much they change server load compared to when they turned them off for Tuesday’s fight.

At the end of the fight the Imperium may have lost a lot more ships, but we once again left a Keepstar wreck in our wake.

Keepstar wreck on grid

Now we wait to see what the enemy does next.  Will they drop another Keepstar before Tuesday’s patch?  Monday is technically a holiday in the US, though not a widely observed one (Columbus Day), so some people will be off and ready to scrap.

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A Costly Imperium Victory at FWST-8

The map in EVE Online at this moment on October 7th shows one big hot spot if you go to statistics and click the option to show ships destroyed in the last 24 hours.

That big orange ball in Delve

Over at DOTLAN it shows the most violent null sec system of the last 24 hours to be FWST-8, where more than 10K ships were destroyed.

Delve is a dangerous place

Yesterday I mentioned the destruction that happened when the Imperium killed the first Keepstar that the invaders dropped in FWST-8 in NPC Delve.  I also mentioned that they dropped a second Keepstar that could be attacked shortly after that post went live.

NPC Delve and vicinity

Yesterday was the return to battle in FWST-8 as the Imperium once more went all in to defend Delve from the invaders.  Shortly after 17:00 UTC the Keepstar finished its deployment and went into its anchoring phase, during which there was a 15 minute window in which it could be simply blown up in one pass with no future timers.

With a days notice to prepare, both sides were ready to contest this 15 minute window.

I took a little break from work and joined in for the first wave of the attack, going with the Rokh fleet.  We were bridged in early, as FWST-8 is a single titan bridge from 1DQ1-A, the Imperium’s main staging and capital, and waited for the timer to count down.  Mike Flood gave us instructions and warped us on grid when the time was ripe.

Of course, there were many people in system, so time dilation was down to 10%.  The past official record for one battle, the one certified by Guinness, was 6,142 players in the battle at 9-4RP2, the infamous million dollar battle.  There is no doubt a methodology required to assess exactly how many players are in a system and connected and active, but I did see local well exceed that number early on.

6,446 in local

I am not sure if that qualifies for a record, but it was a lot of people.

With all those people and things slowed down, Imperium forces did not arrive on grid and put enough damage on the Keepstar until almost seven minutes had run off the clock.  While everything else runs at 10% speed, the actual time runs in real time, so a slip up can cost a lot of time on the clock.

Warp disruption bubbles drawing as we arrive on grid

I was in full “potato mode” with graphics turned down to keep my client from bogging down trying to draw everything in sight in high detail.

We successfully stopped the clock at about 8 minutes and kept fire on the Keepstar.  As long as the structure was getting enough damage the clock would stay frozen, so we could not slacken our pace.

The first pause point

The enemy was out in force as well and clustered around the Keepstar to defend it.  Our job was to shoot the structure, their job was to shoot us.  When we were blown up and ended up back in 1DQ1-A, we had to re-ship and get back in the fight.  In this way the Imperium kept cycling ships, ranging from frigates to dreadnoughts, into the fight as losses mounted.

After I lost my first Rokh, I stopped and went back to work, but the battle kept going.  I peeked in on the INN live stream of the battle every once in a while and saw the Jabber pings keep rolling by as more and more people got into fleets to attack the Keepstar.

Later, when I was done with work, I jumped back in.  One of the fleets we were using was made up of ratting doctrine ships, Myrmidons and Gnosis, which were thrown on grid at range to send their drones in to attack the structure as they tried to burn out of ranged to avoid retribution.  I threw an alt in to try that.

Gnosis on grid

That Gnosis did not last too long.  I had better luck with the Rokh, which required you to use a bookmark that put you 200km off the Keepstar, within range of the fit with the sensor booster running a targeting range script.

You had to land, align back out, lock up the structure, shoot, then warp off once the hostiles started to lock you up, a process easier said that done.  Each step of that could take minutes and it the bads started shooting at you, their guns would keep cycling while you sat there waiting for the server to pick up your command to warp off.  I died a few times for want of attention from the server.

Just not going to make it

Also, I learned the hard way not to accidentally click on an overview tab that has brackets on.

So much stuff on grid!

That locked up my client for a minute as it worked that out.  It was a good thing I was on a distant perch and not in range.  I might have been blown up before it drew all those brackets.

I had my main and my prime alt alternating with Rokhs.  Progress was being made on the Keepstar, but it was slow going.

As the day wore into evening at my end, the enemy switched up and sent their subcaps to our staging Fortizar in the system to bubble it up.  That was where we were bridging in, so warp disruption bubbles there would keep us from getting to the Keepstar.

Bubble battle at our Fortizar

That came scarily close to working.  Our fire on the Keepstar slackened enough that the timer started up again and two more minutes ran down before we got enough fresh ships back on grid to stop it again.

Second Pause Point

The grind went on.  As the hours went by people in Europe dropped out for the night as more people from the US joined in.  The total players in system began to sag.  The high water mark was not held for long, but it carried on close to 6,000 for quite some time.  As the evening turned to night that number dropped to just below 5,000 as sightseers and the tired left.  But the battle carried on.

My biggest mistake was accidentally warping straight to the Keepstar.  The server didn’t pick up my abort, but I managed to load high damage, short range ammo and get in quite a few hits before I was blown up.  I don’t think they expected that.

My pod on the structure after my Rokh died

After losing half a dozen Rokhs, I switched over to bombers.  There was a dedicated group throwing bombs from stealth bombers, good for 6K of damage each launch, while trying to stay alive.  You can uncloak, bomb, warp off, and cloak up again if your good and if the server picks up your commands.

It was then that the big panic of the night happened.  The enemy had brought in titans to kill our dreadnoughts faster.

Enemy titans arriving

We slipped again and the timer started counting down once more.  All bombers were ordered on grid to shoot their bombs and then use their torpedo launchers to get enough damage on the structure to stop the clock.

We managed it, with losses, but the clock was now down to under two and a half minutes.  Another slip and the Keepstar would likely be save.

The third pause

This was especially agonizing not only because hours had been spent on the attack, but we were also about 80% done.  We just had to stick it out.

The target remains

I could not however.  After about six hours of constant runs on the Keepstar it was getting late and I had work in the morning.  I called it a night at about the 90% mark, even as pings were going out for more people to join in.  I was in a bomber in system, so I warped off to a safe and then found I couldn’t safe log because the 15 minute timer was still running down… at 10% speed.  So I just cloaked up and left myself in space.  I left Jabber up as well and I saw the ping in the morning announcing that the Keepstar had been destroyed about an hour or so after I went to bed.

But the cost. My loss tally will be up significantly come the next weekly war summary.

The battle reports are all muddled due to so many groups showing up to fight or just gawk.  But it looks like the Imperium lost over 1.5 trillion ISK worth of ships, with more than 5,500 ships destroyed in the fight according to one battle report.

Battle report header

It also shows that we did that even as we were outnumbered.  It wasn’t us swarming a smaller group, but us throwing ourselves repeatedly against a larger force.  And, as with the last battle, the kill mail for the Keepstar itself went missing, so you can add 187 billion ISK to the attackers.  They also lost 3 titans getting to the battle, including one right in their staging system.

The details from another battle report show the ships that were sacrificed in the fight.

The Imperium is Team 1 on this chart

One fleet running for a while was Asher handing out Vexors with drones for people to fly in and attack the Keepstar with.  You got your Vexor, insured it, got it into battle, got blown up, and collected some free insurance ISK.

Our foes are feeling pretty good about killing so many of our ships.  But that wasn’t the real point of the battle.  The point was to show how hard we will fight when then step into Delve.  A lot of hay has been made about “flood plains” and how we let Fountain and Querious go without throwing in for a big fight.

But now we’re in Delve and we are ready.  Some propaganda was immediately forthcoming.

Welcome to Delve

Now we are restocking our supplies and getting ourselves ready for the next round.  The invaders want to advance by dropping Keepstars rather than by attacking ours, no doubt thinking their superior numbers would make this a safe way to get into Delve.  Now they know they will have to commit to a huge fight with every step on that path.

I am sure both sides now are planning out next steps and digesting lessons learned.  A third Keepstar drop is expected.

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The Last Keepstar in Tribute Falls as We Look for More Targets

Another Northern Coalition Keepstar was destroyed as I slept.

The Keepstar in SH1-6P, formerly the PanFam staging citadel to defend Tribute, was destroyed at 09:45 UTC, which was about a quarter to three in the morning for me.

Keepstar Kill Mail

The Keepstar was gunned and got some kills, including a dreadnought and a carrier.  But, as with the Keepstar in P3EN-E, the rigs pulled in advance to minimized the value listed on the loss at ZKillboard.  The destruction was seen as inevitable by both sides.

Even at that hour of the day more than 1,000 pilots were on the kill mail.  I suppose it helped that the coordination team pinged about the op every hour on the hour, doing a count down to the op.

That was the last Keepstar in Tribute and, while I haven’t done a survey of the region, it feels like we are running out of targets there at this point.  The last I check the war tracking thread in the forums, which lists out every structure kill and charts progress on ihub destruction, it did not seem like there was much left in the region.  Certainly the operational tempo of the deployment has slackened greatly in the last few days.  As late as last Thursday I was able to catch a couple ops every evening.  Over the weekend that seemed to drop off dramatically.

There are still things to do.  Vale of the Silent may still have targets for us, though we quickly get beyond two super jumps from our staging as we drive into that region, which makes things awkward.

And there is the cleansing of the structures of PanFam front and/or ally Mogul Financial.  Several of their structures in Tribute have been destroyed already and the coalition has declared war on them so as to be able to hit their structures in low and high sec space.

But after that I am not sure where we will head.  It is possible that we will get the order for a huge move op home in the next week or two, so we can resumed mining and ratting and chasing interlopers in the manner to which we have become accustomed.  For me that will mean going back to SIG/Squad ops out in the east somewhere.

Or maybe GSOL will drop a Keepstar in some place crazy like Y5J-EU, from which we can burn the far side of Vale of the Silent, some of Geminate, and be able to jump to the system that has that gate to The Kalevala Expanse.  That doesn’t seem likely.  It would certainly stretch our logistics.  But it could happen I suppose.

If I were betting money on it though, I would guess we will be headed home in a couple of weeks.

Addendum: INN says all the ihubs in Tribute are dead, even if they are a bit fuzzy on the state of the SH1 Keepstar.

Keepstar Nocturnal Mission

I was up because it was hot.  It had peaked over 100 degrees in the afternoon in Silicon Valley, and even as midnight approached the temperature hung in the mid-80s.  It was too warm to get to sleep easily, so why not just stay up and see a couple of Keepstars blown up?

Given how long they have been around, there haven’t been that many Keepstar kills.  The list of losses over at Zkillboard isn’t that long, even if you add in the couple that didn’t register correctly.  I’ve been around for a few of the kills… including multiple Circle of Two Keepstars… but it is still something of a special event to see one explode.

And that was my initial plan.  Very low commitment.  I was just going to slip into M-OEE8 with an alt in a stealth bomber and watch the fireworks there.  We had a couple of citadels parked around the target, so I could tether up and watch.  So nearly an hour ahead of time I was setup and watching.

The M-OEE8 Keepstar awaits

There were actually multiple targets on grid, but only one really mattered, and the timer was counting down.

Other targets on grid, with blues on their own citadel

That would let me watch one Keepstar, but there was a second one in 0-YMBJ that was set to come out about 30 minutes after the first.  For that one I logged in with my main.  The target was just one jump over from our staging, so I would just stealth bomber over to watch that one as well.

And then the calls for fleets started going up.  There were nearly 2,000 pilots logged into our staging system, and I decided to go with one of the Baltec fleets.  I already had a Megathron.  That would get me on a kill mail or two.

But then they needed logi… somebody always needs more logi… so I bought an Oneiros, put on the Emergency Response SKIN, stuffed a Bouncer and four Warrior IIs in the drone bay and undocked.

Oneiros ready to go

Sothrasil was our FC, and he warped us off to the Athanor off the undock, then back onto the titan that was going to bridge us.  However, everybody was so anxious to go that there were dozens of titans crowded in and it was tough just to click on the correct one.  The call had to go out for titans to dock back up because they were bumping the bridging titans.  We got to hear about that because it was another operation with all fleets on the same voice coms.  But things did clear up for us and we were bridged into M-OEE8.

And from there we gated one system over to E-OGL4 to shoot a Fortizar that was already out.  We landed in close enough that I was able to put a Warrior II on it before we anchored up and motored well out of drone range.

You can almost see the Fortizar

That went placidly as nobody bothered to gun the Fortizar until it was almost dead.  When somebody did show up they turned on the PDS and killed my drone, but the structure was down to 5% at that point, so I was on the kill when it exploded.

The Fortizar explodes as we align out

Meanwhile, back in M-OEE8, more ships were piling in.  Super carriers were putting fighters on the Keepstar the warping to tether up while a range of third party fleets from TEST and Dead Coalition… and even a couple of NC/PL ships… were hanging about watching the structure get chipped away, waiting for their moment to get in range to take a few shots so as to get on to the kill.

Supers strewn about the field

Sothrasil brought us onto the Fortizar on grid with the Keepstar where we tethered up and waited our turn to take a shot at the big target.  One person in our fleet, alleged to be a non-English speaker, warped off to the Keepstar to get his shots in on his own and was blown up for going off on his own.  About the same time a carrier pilot in an Archon trying to control their fighters ended up warping to the Keepstar and was likewise blown up.

Archon sacrificed at the altar of the Keepstar

Somebody ran out in a blockade runner to try and look the wreck, but I don’t think they made it out safely.

Caught grabbing the loot

My alt in his stealth bomber decloaked and put some torps into the Keepstar, then warped back to tether up and watch the outcome.

Sothrasil then had us align and we warped in to take out shots.  I dropped the Bouncer II I had brought along and set it to firing a few rounds before scooping it up.  We then aligned back just as the call for the titans to jump in came over coms.

Our little fleet visible as the titans land in front of the Keepstar

Asher was directing the titans.  The plan was for them all to land and then use their doomsday weapons in order to send off the Keepstar in style.  It didn’t quite go to plan… people shot their

weapons early… but it still looked pretty neat.  I put my camera on the Keepstar and got some pretty shots through the uprights.

Doomsday beams of many colors

A bunch of screen shots were posted in chat, so I’ll link to some of those if you want to see more of that moment.

The Keepstar blew up, most everybody got on the kill mail (more than 1,500 people recorded), the titans got their money shot, the operation was a success.

Keepstar blows up

Now there was just the matter of the other Keepstar, now out of its timer and repairing, eight jumps away.  When the M-OEE8 Keepstar blew I immediately sent my alt in his bomber off towards the gate to get to the next target.  For the first couple of gates it was like swimming through molasses due to time dilation, but it soon cleared up and he was moving quickly.  Fortunately there were no gate camps.

Over in 0-YMBJ a fleet of carriers had been sent to put fighters on the Keepstar to stop the repair timer and chip it down to get it ready for the kill.  However, the fighters had been doing a very effective job and there wasn’t much left to shoot when my alt arrived, and he was there ahead of the whole fleet sitting in M-OEE8.

Calls were made to pull some, then all fighters as the fleets began jumping in.  People were getting antsy about getting on that second kill so, despite being told to take a shot and stop firing, people blazed away with all they had.  As titans landed, more doomsdays were set off, without much regard to who might be in the way.

Somebody blowing up in the pack

I put my alt in range and set torpedoes flying, but my main was still in M-OEE8, sitting on a titan waiting for the bridge to go up.  Meanwhile people were calling the percentage left on the Keepstar, getting everybody worked up.  The call was 8% left when our bridge finally went up.  But there was traffic control and many of us stayed in the jump tunnel for a long time.

When I finally landed, there was only 2% left on the structure.  I immediately dropped my Bouncer II and set it on the Keepstar.  I was just in time, but others in our fleet landed too late.  The Keepstar quickly exploded.

The second Keepstar blows

Still, more than 1,500 people were on that kill mail as well.  I managed to get on there with both accounts.

After that it was just a matter of getting everybody home.  On the bright side, we were all just one gate from our staging.  On the downside, it was now 1:30am local time for me… and much later/earlier some others… so people were sluggish about getting going and the subcaps had to sit around and make sure that all the big stuff got out safely.

The Mittani got on coms… it must have been 3:30am for him, though he is younger than I… and congratulated us on the kills and said that we needed to work out how to move this many people around between kills, since some people didn’t get on both as promised.

We were later informed that, with these two Keepstars, the total value of structures and ihubs destroyed in Tribute now exceeded 1.7 trillion ISK.  Somebody is going to have to go kill a lot more Rorquals back in Delve if they want to claim that equal damage is being done back there.

Slowly but surely the capitals drained out of 0-YMBJ and we were able to go home ourselves.  We docked up, I logged out, and then headed off to bed.  It was still hot in the house, but it was a little less so than earlier and I was now tired enough to drop off to sleep.

Fort Knocks Way Down in the Hole

There in J115404 the Keepstar was waiting for us.  The trip into the hole on Saturday was going to pay off.

Fort Knocks over a planet

The Keepstar called Fort Knocks had been initially reinforced by the Initiative.  The whole venture was the culmination of about a year’s planning and logistics and it was came to its culmination last night.  The Initiative had jumped into J115405, the wormhole system colloquially known as “Rage,” taken over the static hole into the system, and reinforced the Keepstar named “Fort Knocks” last week.

Fort Knocks, as noted over at PC Gamer, was the first Keepstar to be brought online in New Eden.  That article will also tell you a bit about Hard Knocks, the alliance that built it.

As noted, once the Initiative launched their plan, bringing out their pre-positioned assets and taking over access to the hole, the Imperium was invited along to participate, and Asher brought the Reavers into the hole on Saturday.

Sunday saw the armor timer for Fort Knocks come and go uncontested.  Hard Knocks gunned the structure, hurling bombs, running the PDS to shake off drones, and zapping those who dared stray too close with the doomsday.  But they didn’t undock a fleet or otherwise put a serious attempt into defense, nor did allies or other wormholers come to help them.

There is a legend that wormholers will band together in the face of outsiders, k-space dwellers, coming in to attack them.  But, then again, Hard Knocks has played the role of wormhole tyrant in the past, so perhaps that sense of unity did not apply to them.

Instead, Hard Knocks looked to be preparing for the end largely by shifting some assets about and by undocking and self-destructing capital ships to collect the insurance before the end.

Not that they were not beyond some hijinks.  Putting capital ships on the undock and self-destructing them was an ongoing temptation for those besieging the system to warp in and take a shot in order to get on the kill mail.  And then the doomsday would fire from the Keepstar and some unfortunate would get to “ride the lightning” for their trouble.

Even Asher lost his Monitor FC ship when he warped our fleet over to a Moros stuck in a bubble after somebody in fleet reported it as being far enough off the Keepstar to be safe.  It was not and Asher got to ride the lightning as well.

That, in a wormhole, is a pretty big pain in the ass.  At least he did not lose his capsule as well, because then you’re in your clone in normal space.  There is no jump cloning to wormholes.  Still, even with a capsule left you pretty much have to fly into the hole the ship you plan to use, as wormhole space isn’t just another system in New Eden.  You can’t just get a ship and fly back.  You have to find the right hole, or series of holes, to go through to get there.  Fortunately, somebody lent him a ship and he was able to arrange to get another one sent in, likely via an alt, so he was back in a Monitor by last night.

Anyway, come last night we were pinged to log on at about 01:00 UTC, or 5pm my local time.  We were forming up for the final timer.  We got into fleet and sorted ourselves out as usual, undocking to hang off the Raitaru and survey the system.  There was about a half an hour left to go before the big event.  Wrecks of capital ships were still lingering on the undock of the Keepstar.

Capital wrecks on the undock

But before that there was a Hard Knocks Sotiyo that had been reinforced.  We flew off to do the armor timer, anchoring up on Asher to hang about avoiding the defenses as we shot the structure.

Cruising around the Sotiyo

We had enough firepower to stop the timer, but not enough to hit the damage cap on the structure, so we were still shooting it when the Keepstar timer hit.  But the Initiative was already on the job and stopped the clock there right away.

Timer paused at Fort Knocks

As expected, the Initiative was out with the structure killing Raven doctrine, a mass of cruise missile spewing battleships trolling at long range and being jumped every so often to avoid bombs.

The Raven blob commeth

They have pretty much perfected this doctrine and have killed structures in the face of titan support without capital ships to back them up.  They shoot and then they scoot as the blob gets booshed along.

The jump effect forming before the fleet

They also had a fleet of torpedo bombers out as well taking shots at the Keepstar, giving enough well handled firepower that the result was never in doubt.  Without a fleet of their own, Hard Knocks could annoy the attackers, unshipping some, sending others back to K-space if they got podded, but could not stop them.

We finished up reffing the Sotiyo and then set on a Raitaru and watched as the circling fleet chewed away at the structure of the Keepstar.  The more damage the citadel received, the more the lights in the hangars, and even the Hard Knocks logo, dimmed and flickered.  A nice effect by CCP.

As the end of the structure grew near, Asher warped us in at 30km to get in some hits so we could get on the kill mail.  However, we were in and out too quickly for my light drones to get in a hit.  I had a sentry drone in my cargo bay for just this situation, but had forgotten to swap it out, making this this third Keepstar kill mail this year I failed to get on because I was in the logi wing.  There was no time to go back as the structure soon began to brew up.

Keepstar Coming Apart

My alt, cloaked up in an Astero 40km off the Keepstar did have a Bouncer sentry drone in his bay, so I was able to launch that and get in some hits, so at least he got on the kill mail in time.

The kill mail is here, and over a thousand people managed to get on it.

And then there was the big boom as the Keepstar blew up, leaving a huge wreck behind.

The remains of the first Keepstar

But that wasn’t all that was left behind.  In normal space, all the stuff in an Upwell structure goes into what is called “asset safety” and is delivered to the nearest low sec station 30 days later, where it can be retrieved for a fee.  This was CCP’s response to years of null sec outposts changing hands, locking people out of their homes and leaving all of their stuff stranded.

In wormhole space however there is no asset safety.  Instead, Upwell structures are giant loot pinatas, and the oldest Keepstar in the game might have been the biggest and richest loot pinata of them all.  When it blew up all of the items people left in hangars was spewed out into space, forming a ball of loot consisting of almost 2,000 hangar containers.

The loot ball with tags on

Each one of those little yellow tags contains what was left in somebody’s hangar.  Each of them is a present in space, waiting to be opened.

A hangar container floating about

Some of those containers held great wealth.  There were dreadnoughts with 10 billion ISK fits.  Huge piles of PI materials.  Officer modules.  Freighters.  Blockade runners and Deep Space Transports.  And there was combat ships galore.

There were also cap boosters.  Somebody wryly seeded many people’s hangars with a single 3200 cap booster, the equivalent of getting coal in your stocking at Christmas.

And so a frenzy of looting began.

Because this was their operation, based on all of their planning and hard work, the Initiative was given exclusive access for the first 30 minutes after the Keepstar blew up.  But there was so much loot on the field, and it kept showing up for quite some time as CCP’s code processed through the hangar of each and every capsuleer who ever left anything in that Keepstar… and some who didn’t, because you can “deliver” things to people in Upwell structures now, which is how Doomchincilla ended up losing so many ships during this event despite being nowhere in the vicinity so far as I know… that there was still a huge pile to sort through when we were given the all clear to join in.

The PL killboard sullied with all those frigates

The code even went a little wonky, throwing out containers around the other Keepstar that were flagged as belonging to LAWN.

What followed can only be described as a sacking of a Keepstar as people filtered through cans, ejecting ships to fly around, grabbing items, and blowing things up they couldn’t carry off.  It was such a crazy event that I would be in favor of foregoing asset safety in null sec if this could be a regular spectacle after every structure kill.

That might get too crazy in normal space where every random outsider could try and show up to claim some loot, leading to even bigger numbers straining nodes during such fights.  In wormhole space the crowd is fairly well constrained.

Of course, we were also all stuck there in wormhole space.  You could grab huge items and haul them off to a local structure, but actually getting stuff out of the system was another matter indeed.  A couple of people in Reavers managed to grab dreadnoughts.  Ratknight1 was the first, picking up a Moros out of a can.  He flew it to the friendly Fortizar, insured it, then undocked it to self-destruct in order to collect the insurance.

Ratknight1’s Moros exploding

I was in time to help out with that, so at least I got on one kill mail this month.  That is all I ask, just to prove I’m still around and playing.

As time went on people went from grabbing all they could to blowing up everything in sight.  A gaggle of Praxis battleships was disgorged from one can close by me, but as I closed in with my pod I couldn’t board any of them as they were all locked up and being shot.

My alt managed to jump into an Ishtar and fly it off, taking out some time to shoot Ratknight1 as well, then docked it up to go out again.  He got a Hound stealth bomber next, allowing him to zip about to check cans… though it was only an afterburner fit, so maybe “zip” isn’t the right word.  But when it became clear that we had reached the time of just blowing stuff up, he just joined in to shoot things.

The pillaging looked set to carry on for quite some time still, but I tired of it once it turned to blowing things up.  I docked back up, leaving the two ships I snagged to inspect later.  I’ll see if there is anything worth stripping off of them then likely insure them and blow them up.

Even as I was logging off there was an Imperium fleet up to get people back to Delve.  But Reavers are hanging around for a bit.  There are still structures to blow up in J115405, like that Sotiyo that is coming out soon, and the other Keepstar looming across the way.  Where there are structures to shoot, Reavers will be there.

Other coverage of the event:

A Massive Move Op Gets Me Home from the War

The peace of the north, where the Imperium agreed to withdraw forces back to Delve and not bother the north of null sec for a month and GotG for a full six months, came into effect on Saturday.  And with that began the first big move operation.  It was planned for 18:00 UTC, 11:00am for me, on that Saturday.

The first call to form up came at seven minutes before the hour in a ping and I was ready for it.

The whole operation had been announced almost a week in advance, so I had plenty of time to prepare.  As usual during a deployment, I managed to acquire a range of subcaps in my hangar.  Actually, in both of my hangars, the one in the Keepstar in 6RCQ-V and the one in the station in ROIR-Y in Pure Blind, where Reavers had been based for almost a year.

Usually the accumulation of ships means flying my main and my alt together in multiple move ops and maybe finding somebody with a bit of space in the ship maintenance bay of their capital ship to carry a couple of bombers or such.

This time however, one of the ships I managed to accumulate was a Naglfar dreadnought, a prize from the race that Ranger Gamma ran back in late December.  It was supposed to be a suicide dread, something expendable to drop on a valuable target like a titan   I only managed to use it one, during the first Keepstar battle at X47L-Q, and it survived so I had it to move back.

That turned out to be a bit of a boon.

With almost a week’s notice I was able to pack my ships into the Naglfar and jump it from ROIR-Y to the Keepstar at 6RCQ-V.  There I was able to stuff almost all of my remaining ships into the the ship maintenance bay along with the assorted modules and other stuff that ends up rattling around the corners of your station hangar when you stay in any one place for more than a week or two.  So much nanite repair paste mocking me because I forget to overheat most of the time.

The only ships that did not fit were a couple of travel interceptors, which are easy enough to jump clone to and fly out, and a Megathron battleship for the Baltec doctrine that I think I flew exactly once. (But that was one more time than the Ferox I had there as well.)

The Megathron was problematic.  A Battleship is big and takes up a lot of space in a ship maintenance bay, so I was reluctant to try to foist it off on another cap pilot.  But tech I battleships insure nicely and I wouldn’t miss it if it was gone, so I decided to just fly it home on its own.  I figure, best case, I might scatter a small gate camp and get a kill, while the worst case would be to lose it, collect the insurance, and not have to worry about it anymore.

Megathron in Cloud Ring

So on Wednesday night I undocked it and headed towards Delve.  I knew the risks. The coalition had pinged multiple times “Don’t move yourself!”  But I was going to go for it.  I already knew the route home.  Many trips over the years through the area hes left me with the lay of space.  You get into Fountain, you take the jump bridge to the mid-point of the region, you take the gate that cover the mid-region gap, you take the jump bridge to the gate to Delve, and in Delve you take a jump bridge to where you want to be.

Megathron on its way

The trip went off without incident.  It was even relatively quick.  With the revisions to jump fatigue I only had to wait for a timer to cool down a bit before hitting the next jump bridge.

My small op was done.  The big op was coming.  I was on and ready to go before the first ping came.

The first ping was for four capital fleets, divided up by type, and an overflow fleet.  Those quickly filled up and a second overflow fleet was called.  Then two subcap fleets were called.  If I recall right there was also an overflow fleet for subcaps eventually, and then a final fleet for people who could fly Apostles to help get the strategic force auxiliary reserves home.  I got my alt in for that, so had two accounts running for the move op.

If I had know that was going to be a thing I could have shoved the Megathron in the Apostle to carry it home.  Oh well, it was done already.

Move ops can be long and exasperating affairs, as demonstrated by the classic Endie “trail of tears” graphic memorializing an all day move to Delve from the north.

The Trail of Tears move op

That was back when capitals were rare and the pilots alleged to be the elite.  Now almost any scrub who rats in Delve has at least one capital ship and many of them have supers or titans.

And now, on a Saturday morning I was going to move to Delve with more than 1,800 other capital ships and a couple of fleets of subcaps, all of us sharing the same voice coms channel. (For those interested, there were about 1,400 actual people in the voice coms channel for the ~2,000 ships being moved, so less than a 2:1 ratio of accounts to people.)

There was a non-zero chance of this becoming a nightmare.

Instead, it all ran surprisingly smoothly.  People used all the advance notice we had to get ready, so a fleet of capital ships jumped to the first cyno just a little bit after 18:00.  The dreadnought fleet went at 18:17, while the Apostle fleet, the last to go, was cleared to jump at 18:25, landing on a Fortizar.

About 1,800 capitals tethered

Our first jump was a few gates shy of critical gate to Fountain, but we had jump fatigue to burn off, so we were sent by fleet forward to the last system in Cloud Ring, then gated again by fleets in order to keep time dilation from going crazy.  We held up together on a Fortizar in B-DBYQ, the last system in Cloud Ring, and the jumping off point for the Fountain War five years back.

Aligned in B-DBYQ

Again we were sent through the gate by fleets.  That put is in J5A-IX at the top of Fountain, where we regrouped on the Keepstar there, docking up.

At 19:34 we got the call to undock and, in a moment of hubris, the command was given for all fleets to jump.  That cranks up the tidi to 10% and ended with some disconnects, but for the most part it was just slow.  We got through, landing on the Keepstar in C-N4OD to dock up.

By 19:50, once people got through and things settled down, we were again called by fleets to undock and take the gate to KVN-36, the place where we were ambushed on another move op back in 2015. It ended up looking like a stream of titans being fired from the Keepstar.

You could walk back to the Keepstar on those titans

There we aligned to the Keepstar, then were sent by fleets to dock up, the Apostles going last to avoid bumping.

Apostles aligned and waiting

That put us in the southern half of the region.  We were told that for the next jump, which would bring us to the Delve gate in Y-2ANO, our arrival on the Keepstar would be recorded for use as a propaganda video, so we were all going to jump at once again, but this time we were not to dock up because that wouldn’t look as cool as all the ships arriving and just hanging on the citadel.

Again, lots of time dilation due to all of us going at once, but most people got through okay.  Traffic control was up for a lot of people and was even giving positions in the queue to jump.

412th position in the queue

My dreadnought went through, but the jump by the Apostle was cancelled by the delay.  I set it to jump again and it went through fine on the second go.

A batch of caps arriving in Y-2

I will be interested to see what the footage of us coming in looked like.

After that we all aligned to the ZXB-VC and waited for cynos to get in place in 1DQ1-A.   Another chain of titans was then fired at the gate.

Once through we were cleared to jump to the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A.  The cyno in the Apostle fleet disconnected, but by 20:41 the cyno was up again and I was docked in the Keepstar contracting the Apostle back to the person who handed them out.

Back at the Delve Keepstar

So from the time of the first ping at 17:53 to my being done and able to log off was just about three hours, which is amazing for a move op of this size and complexity.  Pilots new and old managed to make it down.

I think we’ve gotten a bit better as a coalition, but also the leadership has gotten better at keeping these sorts of operations moving.  For one thing, there were markers called at various points, that if you hadn’t reached a certain objective you were too far behind and told to log off and wait for the next move op.  The whole move op didn’t stop people one person disconnected or didn’t follow instructions.

Of course, citadels have made this sort of thing easier as well.  At every jump or gate there was a citadel waiting for us, usually a Keepstar, letting us tether up or dock.

And so it goes.  I am back in Delve for the first time since November of last year.  When I go back to put together all the posts for this deployment, this ought to be the final one.

A gallery of my screen shots from the op:

The War in the North Ends with a Payoff

The news apparently leaked on Reddit from a disgruntled source so the official announcement is now out over at Imperium News: The war is over.  We have blown up enough stuff in the north and now we will be headed home.

Destruction in our wake

A deal has been struck between the Imperium and Guardians of the Galaxy.  The tale of how it came about, starting at the CSM summit in Iceland, is laid out by Aryth in the linked post.

The terms of the agreement are as follows:

  • The Imperium will withdraw main fleet, SIGs/squads, and cloaky campers from the northern territories* for 1 month, and from GOTG** space for 6 months, starting on Sep 29, 2018 if the following terms are fulfilled:
  • GOTG pays total of 40 faction fortizar equivalents
  • Within 72 hours of agreement, a payment of 10 faction fortizar equivalents or 500 Billion ISK which will be refunded when the 10 Faction Forts are delivered as the first payment to a highsec station with highsec only routes to Amarr.
  • Within 10 days of agreement, all 5 Moreau+30 other faction fortizars must be delivered to a to a highsec station with highsec only routes to Amarr.
  • For the purposes of this agreement Moreau fortizars count as 2 faction forizars. Example: 5 Moreaus and 30 other faction forts would satisfy this payment agreement.
  • GOTG will not attack any withdrawing Imperium forces or interfere with unanchoring Imperium structures or ships attempting to scoop unanchored structures.
  • GOTG will not attack Imperium structures*** during the period of this agreement.
  • Within 24 hours of this agreement, Imperium will cease creating new offensive timers outside Fade/Pure Blind. Existing offensive timers can be attacked until Sep 29. As a sign of good faith, the Imperium will not hit the 2 planned Ihubs on the night of Sep 16. Both parties will maintain the secrecy of the agreement as much as possible. Imperium will also attempt to reach a “natural stopping point” after the main Keepstar kills and use that as cover to withdraw.

Definitions:

  • * Northern territories (Tribute/Vale of the Silent/Geminate)
  • ** GOTG space (Deklein/Branch/Fade/Pure Blind/Venal) Venal blazers can do whatever still.
  • *** Any Imperium structures
  • Imperium Alliances (CONDI/BASTN (DUTCH)/B C C (RENTD)/INIT.(-IA-,IM)/LAWN/TNT/IMGAY/ME4U/MEX/PBLRD/SV./WI.) This means no structure hitting in Cloud Ring also during the 6 months for any structures belonging to IMP alliances. This does not apply to non-imp entities.
  • 500B down payment will go to “Aryth” who will refund it after 10 Faction Forts are delivered.
  • Faction Forts can be delivered to “Dj’s Retirement Fund”
  • Upon start of the 5th month both parties can come together to decide if an extension is needed if not both parties accept that by the end of the month this deal is completed.

So there it is.  The Imperium will be taking payment in the form of faction Fortizars to leave the north.  As I noted in a previous post, my impression was that we were pretty much done in the north for the time being once the CO2 Keepstar went down.

In a talk over at Talking in Stations last night (recording here) Sort Dragon spoke about the agreement.  Apparently Ayrth first asked for straight up payment of ISK, which GotG didn’t have handy.  But they had those Fortizars, many of which came from outposts that the CFC/Imperium planted back before we were kicked out of the north as a result of the Casino War.

On the Imperium side there was a fireside chat last night (recording here) where some additional details were spelled out.  The whole deal was supposed to remain secret, allowing GotG to save face.  However, RiotRick from Slyce decided to spin the narrative of the Imperium leaving on Reddit leading to the whole thing becoming public.  I am sure it would have leaked eventually, but you know who to thank for all of us getting the word early.

Asher spoke for a bit, specifically clarifying that while we have agreed to leave the north for a month, the only longer term arrangement is with GotG.  There is nothing longer term with NCDot, Pandemic Legion, Pandemic Horde, and certainly not with Circle of Two.  He also mentioned that, after some time in Delve to mine and rat, that there is another target in mind.

The war itself racked up an impressive amount of structure kills.  According to a tracking thread on the forums the citadel count was something like:

  • Fortizar : 47 (8 flipped and destroyed by hostiles)
  • Faction Fortizars : 6 (+1 stolen) (3 destroyed by hostiles)
  • Tatara : 6
  • Azbel : 6
  • Sotiyo : 3
  • Athanor : ~73 (9 flipped and destroyed by hostiles)
  • Astrahus : ~35
  • Raitaru : ~19

On top of that there were 10 Keepstar kills along with another one that was stolen:

  1. Aeschee – Essence (Shadow Cartel)
  2. Kinakka – Black Rise (WAFFLES.)
  3. X47-Q – Pure Blind (Northern Coalition)
  4. 46DP-O – Tenerifis (Fraternity)
  5. DW-T2I – Fade (Circle-Of-Two)
  6. 16AM-3 – Tenerifis (Blades of Grass)
  7. C4C-Z4 (Circle-Of-Two)
  8. 3V8-Lj (Corcle-Of-Two)
  9. DO6H-Q (Northern Coalition.)
  10. 7X-VKB (DARKNESS.)

Some of those bleed into the southern front, where activity largely died down after the the attack on TEST ground to a halt on the second Keepstar in ULAX-3.

And of course there were titans, supers, and hundreds of dreadnoughts lost on both sides as well, leading to a butcher’s bill in the trillions of ISK for the war.

The monthly economic reports for September and October should be interesting.  With the Imperium returning to Delve and the north free of our presence, I expect we will see a surge in mining, ratting, and production in a number of regions.

Now I have to figure out what I am going to do.  The Reavers SIG has been in the north since November of last  year, so while there is talk of the last two month, fighting in the north has been my reality for nearly a year, with only a few short breaks.  SIGs and squads are part of the agreement, so we will be headed home as well.

But according to Asher on that recording, we’ll have a new task soon enough.

Other news items on this:

A Five Keepstar Day

While I was at work the Keepstars I highlighted earlier in the week were destroyed.  The EU time zone team got some shiny kills.

The Keepstar lineup on zKillboard

While I only mentioned four in my post it turns out that there was a fifth ready to be knocked off down in Tenerifis which TEST took care of.  The five kill mails:

All told that is at least a trillion ISK in losses inflicted in a single day without much in the way of resistance.

The question is now what happens next in the war?

 

Four Keepstar Targets in Fade and Pure Blind

Ops have already run in order to reinforce the remaining four northern Keepstar in Fade and Pure Blind.  The are scattered across two zones, so I ended up using the multi-region map for the area that is available at DOTLAN.

And then I flew out to take a peek at each of them just to see where the timers stood.  I have a general idea as ops area already on the calendar, but sometimes you just want to know the exact time.  So off I flew, first to C4C-Z4 and the first Circle of Two Keepstar.

Circle of Two Keepstar in Fade

From there I zipped over to DO6H-Q and the NCDot Keepstar.

NCDot Keepstar in Fade

Then I headed down into Pure Blind to 3V8-LJ to find the second CO2 Keepstar.

The CO2 Keepstar in Pure Blind

Then I made the last leg of the trip over to 7X-VKB to see the Darkness Keepstar.

Darkness in Pure Blind

All four are set to go this coming Wednesday, September 19th, at various early hours of the day.  At least early for me, sitting here on the West coast of the US.

Map of Fade, Pure Blind, and Cloud Ring – Times are in UTC

I doubt I will make it onto any of those kill mails.  But their destruction seems inevitable as northern forces draw back deeper into their own territory.  The question is whether or not there is a war once these are destroyed.  I am sure there will be some lesser structures to clean out of the area.  But once cleansed, the Imperium isn’t planning on moving in and they will stick around if CO2 comes back.  So who will end up in Fade?