Tag Archives: NCDot

Keepstar Down in P3EN-E

In the wee hours of the morning… 1:30am here on the Pacific coast, 4:30am on the east coast… the final timer for the Keepstar in P3EN-E in the Vale of the Silent ended.  An Imperium fleet had been gathered for that moment and proceeded to destroy the structure.

Keepstar kill mail

I choose to keep on sleeping rather than spend a couple of hours forming up with a fleet, traveling, shooting, then schlepping back home, a choice many of the people who engaged in last week’s double Keepstar kill appear to have taken as well.  There were 859 pilots on the kill this time around, down from over 1,500 on each kill last week.  I guess one Keepstar isn’t worth missing a few hours sleep in the middle of the night.

The kill mail shows the usual giant blob of titans, supers, and smaller capital ships, though this time around it looks like the supers did the bulk of the damage with fighters and then everybody else was jumped in to get on the kill.

The grinding of PanFam space continues.  There are more structures left to kill, including a Keepstar in SH1-6P, where the ihub is already under assault.

Where Will War Land in New Eden Next Week?

The Mittani was promising us a war last week, asking us to tune into the weekly fireside chat to get an update.  There were more than 600 people in the channel for that on Saturday before a ping went out to get people logged in.

A past visual from The Scope of The Mittani speaking

However, the news for us was rather sparse once the fireside got going.  We were assured that was was coming, that the next fireside would be replaced by a Station of the Goonion meeting (which differs mostly from a fireside in name, though it tends to be shorter and more on point) which would announce the target of our war, after which move ops would commence immediately while those already forward deployed would begin hitting targets.

It was also stated that this would not be a war of conquest… Delve is already making us rich, so we don’t want more space… but a war of destruction to lay waste to the infrastructure and disrupt the economic output of a region.

The question, left deliberately unanswered was which region?  Where will we be heading?

We’ll know come Saturday.  Until then there are some likely guesses.

First, given that SIGs and squads were told to carry on with what they have been up to it seems likely that we will be moving into the northeast of New Eden to operate from low sec in Caldari space.  Lonetrek or The Forge are where those groups are now, so it seems likely that a big move op on Saturday will use the Eye of Terror and cyno chain to move up through Fountain and then east into Caldari space.

Where we will likely deploy

Where exactly we will base depends on the actual target. (Base map from DOTLAN.)

The leak from Headliner on Reddit indicates that we will be assaulting Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion in their home region of Tribute.  That would mean basing in Lonetrek, likely in Hakonen again, though maybe Taisy right on their doorstep.  We’ve been in Hakonen before, back during the summer of 2017, which led to a series of battles (example) that went against the Imperium.

That deployment had not super or titan support, so the locals were able to drop those on us with impunity.  This time we will be bringing all of the big toys so clashes may not be so one sided against us.

In favor of this target is the fact that it hits an an old enemy, NCDot, which harbors the remains of Band of Brothers, as well as Pandemic Legion.  In addition, there is already a war going on with Guardians of the Galaxy, who live in our old space in the north, and who would no doubt be keen to join in on the fun after having to pay us for peace last summer.

The path to Tribute

A war here would also draw support away from other locations in the north allow SIGs based in The Forge to continue a merry harassment campaign in the backfield, forcing Pandemic Horde to choose between defending its timers or helping its allies.

An alternative to the above would have us move a bit further along, into The Forge, from which we could attack into either PL/NCDot and their holdings in Vale of the Silent.

Into Vale and Geminate

This gets us stuck right into Pandemic Horde if we go into Geminate, pitting strength against strength, while The Vale of the Silent is a big region with a lot of targets.  Geminate, like Tribute, means a head-on assault and supers being thrown around.  Vale means the locals have to reinforce from Tribute and Geminate, but can stay based mostly at home.  It still lets GotG harass from the north end and SIGs at the south end, though both local forces would be able to respond to either more readily.

Finally, there is a possible focus on the rental income of the locals.

Where the rental money comes from

The Kalevala Expanse, Malpais, and The Spire represent prime null sec rental space from which the locals derive income.  Again, The Forge puts us about as close as we can get those regions without getting into NPC null sec space.  But those regions do not have handy NPC space for us to land in. (Otherwise there would probably already be a SIG in there.)

Going after those regions would give us a nice “going after bots” narrative, though the recently revived Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Imperium rental alliance that operates in Period Basis, featured in the latest round of bot bans, so one might be tempted to ask when we’ll be opening a front there. (Or against Fraternity.)

The problem is that, while those are tempting targets, you cannot get a super fleet in there without multiple gates and jumps.

So I suspect that the first option I mentioned, an attack on Tribute, will be the actual destination announced this coming Saturday.  It has the advantage of being close to low sec staging as well as close to Jita for re-supply. (Now would be a good time to build up stocks if you’re a seller.)  The leak posted on Reddit was based on something said in the Imperium leadership channel according to The Mittani.  That gives it some weight, even when Mittens wondered aloud whether or not it was a ruse.

Northeast Null Sec Influence Map – May 12, 2019

(Map from Null Sec Influence maps)

My guess is that Hakonen or Taisy will be our destination on Saturday and, once the capital fleets arrive, a Keepstar will be dropped in one of those systems to kick off the conflict.  Supers will cover the initial deployment and the enemy will have to either come attack it when the 24 hour cycle finishes and the initial repair timer goes live.  They will have to either face our fleet then or allow us to setup a a difficult to assail base right on their front step.

Meanwhile, SIGs and squads will use the distraction of the main front in Tribute to harass and set times in rental space.

That seems to me to be the most likely war scenario.  However, I have no inside information whatsoever… hostile groups with spies know more than a line member like me… so your mileage may vary.

We will see in about a week.

Always Something to Clean Up in Space

After having caught the first move op back to Delve last week I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with myself in New Eden.  I haven’t ratted in over a year, and I haven’t mined in much longer than that, and have no desire to do either.  When you see those Delve numbers on the monthly economic report, I contribute nothing to those two categories.

Meanwhile the peace in the north has meant few strategic operation opportunities.  I like strat ops because the have a goal and I am a very goal oriented person.  Roaming just to roam, unless it is with Reaver, isn’t something I enjoy.

Fortunately it appears that NCDot was looking out for me.  It must be because I am friends with Matterall.  They left a couple of Astrahus citadels in Aridia set for US time zone timers, so when a fleet went up to go shoot them I was awake and ready to go.  It was going to be Hammerfleet doctrine, which is built around the Ferox battlecruiser, which meant that I would get to show off the Cordite Blossom SKIN that CCP briefly offered as a fundraiser back with the September update.

Cordite Blossom Ferox at a jump bridge

The fleet was under Dave Archer and, of course, he didn’t tell us what we were up to, just that it was a strat op.  The presence of spies and the requirements of operation security means we rarely get told much until something is already happening.  But that it was a strat op in a doctrine that is often used to shoot structures, and because there was a small carrier op under Zed Starshine going with us, it seemed like a good bet that there was a citadel out there that needed bashing.

And that we took the jump bridge to 1-SMEB pretty much guaranteed it was in Aridia.  So off we went, shepherding the slower carriers that would be used as the firepower for the shoot.  Getting there went smoothly, except for the point when somebody in the fleet set off they cyno by accident.

That wasn’t what he meant to do

That sort of thing doesn’t happen as often as it could.  But it was quiet enough in the area that we left him behind and he was able to catch up.

The Astrahus itself was being gunned, so as we orbited the structure it threw various things at us.  For the most part that kept logi awake with something to do.

Paints and webs on somebody

The unaware and incautious were in trouble however.  Small stuff had to warp off to stay safe and the few people who did dumb things, like lighting their microwarp drive when a bomb was coming in, paid the price.  But losses were minimal.  When the heard had been culled of the incompetent the gunner started in on our drones and we had to pull those and pick up with guns.  However the fighters from the carriers carried on without issue.

Unfortunately, this shoot was just for the armor timer.  There was no kill mail to be had.  The kill was set for three days down the road.

Timer counting down

Then we moved to another system and did it all again, shooting another gunned Astrahus to take care of another armor timer.

The Ferox line and a planetary atmosphere

That set up another timer for a kill next week.

After that it was a quick run back to 1-SMEB where the carriers could jump and we could take the jump bridge back home.   So I managed to get in on at least one fleet this month and helped clean up some hostile structures.  We’ll see if I remember to check for the fleet that will go get the final timers and the kills.

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?

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:

X47L-Q Preliminaries at Tosche Station

The north has been simmering since last week’s titan destroying battle in X47L-Q.  That fight was just the penultimate round for the NCDot Keepstar in the system.  The armor timer was beaten, leaving open to opportunity to destroy the giant citadel today.

Preparations for what might be the final battle over the station have carried on since.  I mentioned an operation that we ran on Saturday to cover the deployment of a Fortizar in X47L-Q on the same grid as the Keepstar.  That set a three day timer before it would be set.

The wait for anchoring begins

The deployment timer for that came due last night and we formed up to cover it again, this time to see that it went online.  Two subcap fleets were called up, a Baltec fleet under Thomas Lear and a Cerberus fleet under Asher Elias.  I already had a Scimitar to fly logi for Cerbs from a fleet the night before, also to cover a citadel coming online, so I went with Asher’s fleet.

Minmatar Liberation Day SKIN on the Scimi

Both subcap fleets were bridged to a mid-point system early to wait on citadel until the timer hit.  The subcap fleets hung there with the capital fleet that was also called up.  We were serious about getting this Fortizar online, so there were titans, super carriers, and faxes out for the fleet.

I had an alt in X47L-Q cloaked up on grid with the Keepstar and our Fortizar in order to see what was going on.  Watching the system, it did not seem to be as active as one might expect if a battle were expected.  There were fewer than 150 people in the system, many of them Imperium pilots.  We had plenty of eyes on things.

The count in the system went up as the timer transition moved closer.  First Black Legion arrived with a fleet of Muninns led by Elo Knight, followed by NCDot and their own Muninn fleet.  Local moved above the 500 mark, and then the Fortizar anchored and began its 15 minute repair cycle.

Power Converters available soon

The locals put their Munnins in range of the Fortizar and opened up, pausing the timer easily enough.

Munnin mass flying about

But the cyno for us went up shortly and we jumped in, docked up, then undocked to get around the tether delay, the headed on out towards the Munnins.  The Baltecs were there as well, along with a bomber fleet under Dabigredboat and the capitals, so the Munnins withdrew after a short clash.  We moved back to the Fortizar to tether up and keep an eye on things.

Hanging on tether under the Fort, Keepstar in sight

Asher told us then that Zungen from Black Ops had decided to try and start anchoring another Fortizar, no doubt hoping that all eyes would remain locked on X47L-Q.  However the locals could see that we were serious, with caps on field, something they didn’t seem keen to counter at the moment, so the Black Legion fleet broke off and went to kill Zungen’s Fortizar.

At some point, as we hung on tether, a Minokawa force auxiliary of ours ended up on the Keepstar.  Asher had us align and we warped in to try and shepherd it to safety, but we arrived just in time for the Keepstar doomsday to hit.

Cerbs caught in the arc… also, Caroline’s star!

We lost a couple of ships in the fleet, but the brunt fell on the Minokawa, which began to come apart.

A subcap explodes as the Minokawa begins to fail

A few of the locals in the NCDot Muninn fleet, which stayed behind, got in range to get on the kill.  We were able to return the favor by popping some of them, but the Minokawa exploded all the same, the Keepstar having done 99% of the work.

During that exchange the hostiles managed to headshot Asher, blowing up his Phantasm, despite logi getting reps on him right away.  We went to a backup anchor, The Pink Pansy, and shot a few more hostiles before everybody withdrew to their citadels to tether up.  Asher was able to reship into a Sleipnir and carried on leading the fleet from that.

Meanwhile, a few systems over, Zungen’s Fortizar was destroyed, so the locals got their success for the night.  Well, they got the Fortizar and slaughtered a host of bombers that flew over to try and defend the citadel.

When the repair timer on the Fortizar in X47L-Q finished up and the citadel was secure, the subcaps headed out to see if we could catch the hostiles from the other fight.

Subcaps smacking into a gate after using MWDs to get clear of a bubble

We ended up behind them, catching up with them on the gate in O-N8XZ, where a few shots were fired and a couple of ships exploded, but no decisive clash took place.

When that had peter we headed to one of our citadels to sit with the capitals while their jump timer cleared.

Sitting on another Fortizar, waiting to go home

When the capitals were ready to go they began jumping back to our Keepstar in 6RCQ-V.  We were bridged back as well and docked up.  The operation was over, lasting a little over 100 minutes from form up to dismissal.

Operationally, we accomplished what we set out to do.  We have a Fortizar on grid for the Keepstar final timer.  ISK-wise, we would have done very well had the second Fortizar not been dropped and lost along with so many bombers.  That cost us the ISK war according to the battle report I put together.

Battle Report across Three Systems

The numbers of players on the battle report are comparable, and the ISK war was in our favor in X47L-Q, even with the Minokawa loss.  But roping in all of the events across three systems seems like a more fair assessment of the evening.

All of which leaves us waiting for today’s events.  Before this post goes live… the joys of scheduled posts… fleets will have formed up and moved into the jump range or on grid in anticipation of the timer on the Keepstar running down.  A fight seems almost certain as there was a report at NER on Monday that Pandemic Legion, Pandemic Horde, and NCDot were moving capital ships away from the southern front and their war with TEST and towards the north and the coming Keepstar contest.

Before I am likely to even have considered lunch, the fight will have begun as the 30 minute repair timer begins.  Time dilation will likely keep any fight that occurs on the field long enough for me to get home from work and peek in… my alt is logged off in the system… and maybe even join a reinforcement fleet.

The question is really whether or not this will be another titan bloodbath.  Both sides no doubt learned from the last fight and nothing has changed since then, so it will be interesting to see how the two sides adapt to the situation.

Anyway, tomorrow’s post will be, at a minimum, the results of the fight.  I cannot cover the drama over this Keepstar and then not report the final result.