Tag Archives: Keepstar

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?

Circle of Two Loses Another Keepstar

As I posted on Monday, the sights of the Imperium were set on the CO2 Keepstar in DW-T2I.  The destruction of this Keepstar has been an operational plan since July, when the first opportunity was thwarted by ignorance about cynojammers.

Lots of work since then led to the situation on Wednesday evening when the Keepstar, no longer under the protective umbrella of a cynojammer, came out of its final timer.

The question was whether or not there would be a fight.

Given that there was no defense of the previous timer and that the Imperium had picked off a number of jump freighters hauling cargo that smacked of an evacuation, it seemed likely that no defense would be offered.

But spies were also reporting that the north was trying to rally together a defense, with various organizations sending out pings looking for a maximum effort.  However, the north is not like the Imperium.  It does not have a unified communications and command structure.  So not every entity is on board with every plan.  And rumor had it that CO2 was not planning to defend the Keepstar.  Whether they saw it as a futile effort or because The GigX, the rumored return of the perma-banned GigX, was himself (or herself if you’re into the “Mrs. GigX” story) banned shortly before the CSM summit, it appeared that they were not going to show up.  And it is understandably hard to get motivated about defending something when the owners have given up.

We however were planning to show up in force.  In part that was to ensure if any defense operation managed to coalesced that it could be dealt with, but also because everybody wanted to get on the kill mail for the Keepstar.

There was actually a list of CO2 structures to destroy on Wednesday, with the Keepstar as the final course.  Operations opened with a pair of Baltec fleets forming up to run bridge out and take care of a pair of CO2 Fortizars.

Baltecs Bridging Out for the First Shoot

I managed to get online and into Apple Pear’s fleet in my Oneiros to go along for the ride, combat drones loaded to be sure I had a chance to get on the kill mails myself.

The initial ops were unopposed.  The Fortizars were empty and the shoots were quiet enough that one could focus on other thing in the long silences between Apple Pear’s instructions.  We were close enough that people packing drones were able to join in on the shoot.

Drone Dyson Sphere around the Fortizar

We hit both without incident or interference.

After the two of those down we went back to 6RCQ-V to stand down for a bit.

Aligned out as a Fortizar explodes

Not too long after that it was time to form up for the main op.  This saw over a thousand people logged into our staging before we started to head out.  Again I managed to find a spot in Apple Pear’s Baltec fleet with my Oneiros.  The fleet filled up and was sorted out in very short order at which point we were undocked and on our way.

We took a gate to meet up with our titan and were then bridged directly to the Fortizar on grid with the Keepstar in DW-T2I.

The Keepstar in the distance

The Keepstar still had more than an hour on its timer, but there were other activities planned for us.  There were three other structures coming out of their final timers in quick succession before the grand finale.

The first was an Azbel.

On the Azbel

Once that was down we moved on to wreck a Tatara mining platform that was already being hit.

Tatara wreck before being quickly salvaged

There was a pause after that to wait for the next target, a Sotiyo whose timer had a ways to go.

Circle of Two Sotiyo

Once that timer hit we warped over to it… all of these structures were on the same grid, so you could see them from our Fortizar perch… and commenced to bash that.

The Sotiyo was like some sort of pinata.  When it died almost 40 empty Magnate frigates spilled out or were destroyed… or both… as my kill board got credit for them.  40 more frigate kills for me and everybody else who was shooting the Sotiyo I guess.

The Sotiyo wreck

With the Sotiyo down the preliminaries were over and only the main even awaited us.  We perched back up, tethered on the Fortizar and watched the super carriers get themselves situated.

Fleets tethered up on the Fortizar

The plan was the same as it was the previous Saturday, with the super carriers launching fighters and sending them over to a command destroyer which formed the first of a chain of such ships that would AOE micro jump drive the ball of fighters to the Keepstar in 100km leaps.

This involved a lot of cajoling as controlling fighters isn’t completely intuitive and there is always somebody whose Nyx starts slowly trundling towards the target or whose fighters are headed off into space or end up inadvertently attacking somebody.  I feel for them.  I did the capital ops class on using fighters then forgot half of it within a day.  It is something you need to do a bunch for it to become second nature.

Still a lot of fighters ended up on the command destroyer.

Fighters swarming – Picture source unknown

That screen shot was linked in a ping.  I don’t know who took it, but it shows lots of fighters orbiting, ready for an MJD to take them closer to the Keepstar.

Fighters were in place when the Keepstar timer finally ran down.  The attack on the structure began as we all sat and watched.

The plan was to keep as many people away from the action until the last minute when everybody would jump in or warp to the Keepstar to get in their hit before it died.  So we just sat and watched, TiDi free, as the fighters chewed up the structure.  There were about a thousand people in local.

Then, as the Keepstar got down to 10% the word went out.  Cynos were lit.  We aligned to the target.  And about a thousand more ships landed in the system looking to get in their hit.  A host of titans jumped into our path as we slowly warped to the Keepstar, the tidi slamming down on the node, bringing us to 10% speed.

Titans blocking the view of the Keepstar

We flew on through the titans, and I spotted a Molok as we passed.  Things were slow enough for me to notice that.

That is a Molok, look at the paint job

We landed just 30km off the Keepstar.  I had prepared for this, loading up a sentry drone in my drone bay.  As I came to a stop I dropped the sentry drone, targeted the Keepstar, and engaged.  I saw a few hits recorded… and then my client crashed.  I hadn’t turned down my graphic settings and I am sure the client went beyond the 32-bit RAM allocation limit and terminated.  I was on grid and close proximity with a lot of ships.

All those ships, all visible

Fortunately this wasn’t as bad as some of the big fights.  I was able to log right back in and re-join the fleet.  I had not even warped off as I was still being warp scrambled by the Keepstar, something it does for 30 seconds when you start shooting it.

However, my Bouncer sentry drone was still in my drone bay, so something had gone out of sequence.  I dropped it again, locked up the Keepstar, and started shooting it again.

I also zoomed out my camera to maximum distance and turned it away from the fight in hopes of fending off another client crash before the Keepstar died.

I also did the control-shift-alt-M command to bring up the client monitor to see how my memory usage was doing.  I was riding on the edge there.

My memory numbers after logging back in

We had the order from Apple Pear to align back to the Fortizar, so I pulled the Bouncer.  However, I wasn’t sure if I had hit the Keepstar again after the re-log, so I launcher a Warrior II and sent it after it, willing to sacrifice a light drone in order to get on the kill mail.  Then I aligned and waited for things to go “Boom!”

The Keepstar was done very shortly thereafter.  I was even able to recover my Warrior II.  The Kill mail shows me… and a lot of people… having done zero damage.  But we got counted, which was what mattered.

And then began the unwind, the return to the Fortizar, the recovering of fighters, the capitals jumping out, and then finally the subcaps being bridged out.  Some impatient people decided to gate home and got caught by gate camps.  It was better to be patient.

So I managed to get on six structure kills in my Oneiros and never had to rep anybody.

Most Valuable Recent Kills

The Tatara was apparently significantly under valued.  A ping went out from Tuzy about the Tatara that explained how much the tech II rigs on it were actually worth:

I was just looking over the battle report today from all the structures we killed and I wanted to call this out to everyone. Take a look at this Tatara kill. https://zkillboard.com/kill/72384288/ I noticed it’s value was ~ 10b isk so I immediately looked at the rigs. Aha! But what did I discover? This was a 92 billion isk structure. Take a look at the rigs….both are T2. Zkillboard drastically undervalues them because these rigs are simply NOT sold anywhere in game. Anyone who needs these specific rigs are large, rich alliances – all of whom build them themselves. Go to https://eve-industry.org/calc/ and type in those rig names. That Reproc rig is 66 billion isk. That reactions rig is 15.9b isk. So you can add another 82 billion isk to this killmail to our tally for the day.

So we can add that to the value.

Through all of this, no defenders stood to.  There was a fleet of NCDot and other locals in interceptors hanging around, but they seemed as interested in getting on the kill mails as anything.

And now with that accomplished, with the Keepstar in CO2’s capital system destroyed, we get to ask, “What next?”  CO2 has other citadels in Fade.  Even another Keepstar.

We passed this while killing the Fortizars

But from what I am hearing CO2 is trying to pack up their citadels and it is now a race to see if we can blow them up before they get carried off.  Then there is the NCDot Keepstar in DO6H-Q.  The ihub has been cleared there, so that might be on the list of targets as well.

After that… well… Mittens says that we don’t want Fade, so we’re not going to take the sovereignty.  And we don’t have anybody lined up who wants to take it.  But we also don’t want CO2 to have it, so I suspect that we will stay deployed in 6RCQ-V until we’re sure that CO2 has moved elsewhere.

The destruction of this Keepstar took place on the anniversary of the last year’s betrayal of CO2 by The Judge which ended up with the Imperium buying the CO2 Keepstar in 68FT-6 from him, then turning around and selling it to TEST.

This is on top of the events of late 2016 when CO2 lost a Keepstar at M-OEE8 when NCDot and Pandemic Legion decided to take Tribute after the Casino War had ended.

As an alliance, they have not had great luck with Keepstars.  But their leadership made their bed, so they get to sleep in it.

Other coverage:

More Titans Die at the Final X47L-Q Keepstar Timer

But not as many as before.

If the battle report I cooked up sufficiently reflects reality, a total of 20 titans were lost, down from the 56 destroyed last fight, with the split being 1 lost from attackers and 19 of the defenders titans being destroyed, along with the Keepstar itself.  The battle report shows 2 attacking titans lost, but zKillboard doesn’t show an Avatar being lost by Wotan Oden, so something still needs to catch up.  So it might be 21 titans down, with 2 lost by the attackers.

This, as I mentioned yesterday, all kicked off before I was even thinking about lunch at the office, but I brought my iPad along to stick in the corner of my desk to keep an eye on the battle.

Over in front of my phone, which never rings…

I do have to say that INN knew what data incoming views wanted to know with their overlay.  They had a counter for titans, supers, and specials destroyed, another for the local count, a count down clock for the timer itself and, once the fight started, a display showing the percentage of hull hit points left on the Keepstar.

Aside from the kill counter being a bit confusing… I assumed it was counting attacker and defenders blown up, but it was counting how many ships the attackers and defenders had blown up… that was all I needed running silently at the office.

Anyway, due to the above confusion about the counter I was wondering how the defenders lost a titan before the counter even finished.

Almost fifteen minutes left to go and already a titan down

But it was the defenders who manager to kill a GSF Erebus that was likely bumped, ended up exposed and blown up.

Then the fight actually kicked off and the counter began a lopsided swing towards the attackers.  Later on I heard that one of the things learned from the first fight was positioning.  To deal with the titans on the Keepstar, able to safely tether up quickly after a doomsday kill, Asher positioned our titans at the extreme edge of doomsday range.  That meant of the defenders, who were all over the Keepstar, only some of them would be in range to take a shot.  Unable to bring all weapons to bear on every target they were denied kills.

The attackers, both larger in numbers and grouped up in a tighter ball, had no similar issue and quickly started dispatching vulnerable defending titans one after another.

And then the DDoS attacks started, hitting Imperium coms, forcing the attackers to use text channels to coordinate targets as well as the EVE Online login server.

The usual “Well, of course X did this…” accusations flew, as always from people who have no special insight into the issue, but this attack didn’t help either side.  It imperiled the ability of the attackers to blow up the Keepstar and effectively ended their titan kill streak, while the defenders were unable to bring in additional titans they had staged nearby.  Leadership of both coalitions were unhappy with this state of affairs.

CCP Falcon got on the INN stream to talk about the situation.  The stream itself was dropped from the fight several times.

Back live with CCP Falcon speaking

CCP Falcon gave more information about the state of the servers as well as speaking about why the client end crashes on its own during such big fight, the latter often related to the client trying to allocate more memory than it can access.  This is something that won’t happen nearly as often once a 64-bit client is available, something Falcon said we ought to have within a year. (Until then this post on Reddit can help you avoid that sort of crash.)

All of which happened while I was still at my desk at work.

When I finally headed out the Keepstar was still up, but it was destroyed in the half hour it took me to get home.

On arriving home I logged in my alt, pre-positioned in X47L-Q in a cloaky ship, and warped on grid to see what I could see.  The Keepstar was gone, but the attacking titan fleet still appeared to all be on grid in the bubbles meant to keep them from warping off if they disconnected.

A mighty mass of titans

A directional scan I did of the area showed 466 titans, 322 force auxiliaries, and 191 super carriers.

A closer look at that titan blob shows the smaller capitals mixed in with them.

Zoomed in some on the blob

The area around where the Keepstar was located was still clearly staked out with its own array of bubbles.

Around where the Keepstar was

While there appear to be still some ships there, including several titans, those are all ghosts, either safely logged off or destroyed, but still showing up in space and on overviews due to some sort of server malfunction under the stress of load.  You could not target them, though that didn’t keep every new person who showed up from thinking they could get on one last titan kill.

That titan is a mirage

The wrecks though, they were still there and some enterprising pilots were off to try and harvest some of the loot on field.

An Initiative Mercenaries Rorqual looking to loot

While the battle was over there was still clean up to be done.  A fresh Baltec fleet was called in 6RCQ-V to help cover the returning capitals as well as collect up stragglers and those disconnected earlier in order to get everybody home.  We were bridged to the mid-point Fortizar, where titans were already beginning to collect.

A lot of ships hanging off that Fort

That Fortizar, and another not too far off, was the scene of a heavy interdictor massacre.  A fleet of HICs, as they are called, was sent in to delay the incoming fleets and ended up being slaughtered.

We moved on to X47L-Q where we picked up some subcaps that had been wandering around.  Then we were sent out to blow up wrecks, including the wreck of the Keepstar, in order to leave nothing of value on the battlefield.  Also on the list of things to blow up were friendly ships apparently adrift and not responding.  The only kill mail I was on for the battle was an allied Archon.  Again, we were not leaving anything behind, including free kills.

Then we headed back to the Tosche Station Fortizar and got a bridge back to the mid-point where we had to wait for 25 minutes due to jump fatigue.  While CCP cut back on those timers, jumping four times during a short period still leaves you with some down time.  So we got to sit and watch out bridging titan change the SKINs on his Ragnarok.

Maybe the prettiest

When the time finally came we jump we were out and able to dock up.  That was the end of the battle, with the current battle report numbers indicating that it cost the defenders about two trillion ISK.

Battle report not guaranteed 100% finished or accurate

The battle report has about 100 individuals from various third party groups, but their losses do not add up to much so I left them on the Imperium side of the chart.  Naturally, with this big of a fight the DOTLAN stats show X47L-Q as the most violent null sec system in the last 24 hours.

DOTLAN says…

Pure Blind got the top four spots.  The next two systems are on the way to X47, so are likely people getting blown up coming or going, while the final slot is our mid-point system where all those HICs died.

So that was that, the latest battle in the war of the Keepstars.  The war is not over.  There are certainly more citadels to assail, including the Circle of Two Keepstar in DW-T2I.  I don’t think the Imperium will be satisfied or think about turning for home until at least that has been destroyed.

Others who covered the battle: