Not too long after this post goes live the first fleets will be forming up. Fleets of ships, each as big as 255 pilots in size, will start to coalesce and begin their last minute preparations. The final timer for a Pandemic Horde Keepstar in the system 9-4RP2 in Cloud Ring set to expire later today.
I logged in last night to take one last peek. There were fewer than 40 people in system. The Imperium citadels ringing the Keepstar sat in silent vigil, watching the timer tick down.
That was at about 04:00 New Eden time, which puts the the start of the Keepstar repair cycle at about 22:00.
In a bit of a quirk, a bunch of the citadels around the Keepstar hit their vulnerability window a few hours before the big fight, so there is the possibility of some early action, though Asher says that nobody defends on the shield timer, so it might just be some attackers and people gunning the citadels exchanging shots, but it will be a side show to the main event.
As these things tend to go, the form up and the start of any fight will happen while I am still at the office. The earliest I can possibly be home and logged in is about 23:00 New Eden time, which is a full hour after the timer.
That is still better than last week, as the times have crept later and later with each fight. But, if nobody shows up to defend the Keepstar… or if nobody shows up to attack it… the whole thing will be over in 30 minutes and I won’t even be on the road home by then.
I’m pretty sure the attackers are going to show up. Imperium Jabber has been full of pings about the coming battle over the last five days… which probably means half the coalition still doesn’t know about it. There have been no end of move ops to get ships pre-positioned for the fight, while the capital ops have been opened up, and reimbursement offered, to people who can only qualify for CrapSwarm, to fill out as many capital fleets as possible. We shall see if people will risk their ratting carriers.
Which leaves the defenders.
I suppose the easiest option for Pandemic Horde would be to play the “Didn’t want that Keepstar anyway, made you form!” card and just let the Keepstar die without forming. That at least has a reliable result. Other options involve more risk and may not save the Keepstar. But if they go that route, the question then would be “What will they defend?” The Imperium might just move forward and try their Keepstar at C4C-Z4 in Fade to see. (We were there recently.)
Ideally for them, they and their allies would both save the Keepstar and destroy copious Imperium capitals and super caps. Saving the Keepstar but losing a lot of supers would not bode well however. I strongly suspect that the Imperium’s primary goal is to destroy as many super capitals belonging to the coalition of the north as possible, the Keepstar just being the bait to get them on the field.
The Imperium would happily trade titans with them all evening and consider themselves the winner based solely on their ability to replace losses. You have seen the production numbers for Delve from the December Monthly Economic Report, right?
I suspect that were not just building Rorquals and ratting carriers down there.
And, of course, there is the “good of EVE Online” aspect to this. Big fights like this generate headlines in the wider gaming press and bring attention… and new players… to the game. I wonder what is going on at CCP as the battle looms?
From my own selfish point of view, I hope for a big fight as well because then time dilation will kick in and the fight will drag out to the point that I can get home, get settled, and log in to see things unfold.
Maybe I will even get on a few kill mails with my stealth bomber. We shall see.
Anyway, the coming timer is the topic du jour over on Reddit, with plenty of speculation, advice, and memes to be had. Elsewhere there are some reviews of what has happened so far and previews as to what may come.