There is a war on. Or a war is on. Another one.
Over the past weekend The Mittani said we would be mobilizing and come Monday INN announced that the target was the northwest end of null sec. Pandemic Legion had been moving its capital fleets down to the southeast of New Eden to assail TEST, Brave, and the rest of the Legacy Coalition.
That move left a vacuum up north, a serious reduction in the number of capital ships the locals could bring to bear on any invader. The Imperium plans to move in and fill that vacuum. Pandemic Legion and NCDot are seen as the biggest threat to the Imperium, so with PL away and just NCDot and the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition left to watch their homeland, an opportunity was seen.
Of course, Reavers and a few other SIGs and squads have been up north since at least November of last year hunting the locals and trying to bring them out to fight. We’ve seen change over that time, with Pandemic Horde moving from Fade to Geminate, Mordus Angels collapsing in Pure Blind, and most recently, the resurrected Circle of Two taking up the space in Fade. The locals have occasionally put some effort into trying to suppress our operations.
Our station wrapped in bubbles at one point
But more often than not they avoid us, leave our structures alone unless we’re on a break for a couple of weeks, and only form up for final timers on their structures or when we’ve got another Rorqual tackled. I am sure there is a not unreasonable idea that if we get bored we’ll go away. But Reavers live to shoot structures and do things that seem boring, knowing that it can all lead to a fight if we persist.
Anyway, once Imperium forces were on the move from Delve northward the first objective was to setup a deployment base. So a Keepstar citadel was dropped in the system 6RC8-V in the Cloud Ring region.
The first staging in the war
The Gallente Militia alliance Federation Uprising owns the territorial control unit there, so they get their name on the map, but The Initiative owns the infrastructure hub, and since they are part of the Imperium any structure we drop there takes just 24 hours to come online. (It can take days if you drop them in hostile systems.)
The location is right on the boarder with Fade, where Circle of Two lives. If we were allowed to plant a Keepstar there, that would put them under a hostile capital and supercap umbrella. We could drop forces on CO2 which they would be hard pressed to resist.
It became vital that the locals kill the Keepstar as it came online. That is the point of vulnerability. After it is online and can be armed it becomes much more difficult to take out. So a big battle was brewing.
Fortunately for me this was all set to happen in the evening my time, which is the middle of the night EVE Online time.
I was already up in the north so planned to go with the SIGs and squads deployed there. I did, however, fly an alt over to 6RCQ-V and put him on grid with the Keepstar just to make sure I could keep an eye on what was happening there.
And that turned out to be a good thing. While fleet after fleet was getting called up and ready to move from Delve and Fountain to the fight, we undocked to take care of other business.
Undocking our Ishtars
While all eyes were on the Keepstar our fleet ran out and dealt with smaller structures. We covered a Raitaru on grid with the hostile Keepstar in DW-T21, CO2’s capital. It was in its final timer and we were there to make sure it got through that so the hostiles would have to start over reinforcing it.
We also reinforced a CO2 Astrahus on that grid, giving the locals something to form up and defend later.
Hitting the Astrahus
We then started in on a CO2 Sotiyo, which was gunned, hoping to reinforce that as well.
The view from the Sotiyo, our fleet boost visible in the distance
The Sotiyo was going to take a while however, and before we got even half way done there we were called off to help support the main fight by setting up to block hostile reinforcements. We managed to knock-off a Gila and a few bombers while doing that. We never actually went into the 6RCQ-V system.
That was probably a good thing, because in 6RCQ-V things were happening. As the timer counted down on the Keepstar a cyno went up and the Imperium supercap fleet began to land on the structure.
Titans visible on the Keepstar
And then another cyno went up and a second group started landing.
Some more titans arriving
And then a third cyno went up and then a fourth as super capitals arrayed themselves in and around the Keepstar.
And even more titans start landing
There ended up being a lot of titans on the field, possibly as many as I have seen on the field since B-R5RB.
So many titans
What is hard to see is the super carries mixed in with those fleets. They are big ships when compared to subcaps, but they seem so small when mixed in with titans.
Meanwhile the locals were forming up as well, with CO2 dropping a Muninn fleet into the system.
Muninns landing near the gate
Likewise Darkness and other GOTG groups formed up an Ishtar fleet and was circling the gate to Fade as they waited for the timer to count down.
Ishtars with the Keepstar in the distance
More and more people kept piling into the system, but things were not too bad… and then the shooting started.
My alt got knocked offline a few times during the fight, but things were not as bad as during the 9-4RP2 fight, the so-called “million dollar battle” where getting back in was pretty much impossible. If your client died… and I could see my client grabbing more and more RAM until it expired… need a 64-bit client… you could get back in with a bit of patience.
But this fight wasn’t as hyped as the 9-4RP2 battle was, and we were well shy of the 6,142 players in system that earned that fight a Guinness record. The peak I saw when my alt was in system was just past 3,800.
3,813 and 10% tidi
The fight itself involved the hostiles using Gilas and Ishtars and some long range fit dreadnoughts to stop the timer and start chipping down Keepstar. They were successful for a while, getting enough damage on the citadel to stop the timer with 10 minutes of online repair to go and they did break it down to 85% of its hit points.
But the weight in numbers was against them. While they got out in front of things, the titans and super carriers had been joined by a dreads and subcaps who chipped away, cutting back the attackers until the repair timer started up again and the outcome became inevitable.
Titans firing on attackers
Once the timer started up again the prospects for the attackers dimmed and they began to extract.
The Kirkland Protein Star about to go online
Tidi was still bad though, but my main was on the other side of the gate in Fade trying to catch some hostiles coming and going.
Asher, whose ongoing Kirkland Protein Bar meme helped name the Keepstar (though the name changed a couple of times), was not there to the Reavers. He is now the Sky Marshall, the overall commander and coordinator of fleets and in charge of strategy. I am glad he has an opportunity to move all the pieces on the map. There are not many games where you can drive the actions of literally thousands of other players. But I do worry a bit as the position tends to burn out those who sit in the Sky Marshall chair during a war. I would miss him if he left the game.
Zed Starshine was leading us for the evening. He has led us on some ops before. He got us out to our targets, then to block the comings and goings of the locals, and then the hell out of the way when the hostiles packed up to head home en masse. Our little fleet wasn’t going to stem that tide, we’d just be a snack for them on the way. So we got home early and never had to face any tidi.
The Keepstar went online.
With a big flash
The capitals and super caps didn’t have to head home. They were home. They could dock up and be ready for ongoing ops against CO2 and GOTG.
The fight itself saw more than a thousand ships blow up.
Most violent system on DOTLAN
Most of those ships belonged to those attacking the Keepstar, as the battle report indicates.
Battle Report Header
[Corrected that battle report as I had CO2 on the wrong side initially.]
The ISK count wasn’t that big however, barely a titan’s worth of ships destroyed. TEST and Brave, who are now allied with us against PL and NCDot, sent forces north to join in and cover the Keepstar coming online.
But once that Keepstar was online the situation in the north changed. 6RCQ-V is close enough to CO2’s capital and Keepstar in DW-T2I that the super fleet can just take the gate into E9KD-N and then jump straight there. And you can bet that their Keepstar, and all of their structures, are clearly in our sights. If they stand there will be more fights.
Rumor has it however that they might pack up shop and head to Venal. There are still NPC stations there, places that cannot be destroyed. That is, however, just a rumor at this point, as is the rumor that Slyce might join them.
But if they hang around there will be more titans on grid and more battles over structures in the weeks to come. Maybe even another node killing, 6,000 player, “million dollar” battle.