Tag Archives: Period Basis

Eighteen Weeks of World War Bee

We made it past the four month mark in this conflict and most everybody still seems to be around and fighting.

CCP acknowledges the war in another video from The Scope, where the first two minutes of the nine minute video review a bit of the war.

Then they moved on to the Triglavians and a lot of lore packing to try to make their shake up of high sec fit into the game.

Meanwhile, the war carried on, though still not at the same scale as the week of Keepstars we experienced in October.

Delve Front

This remains the primary theater of action in the war, with PAPI pushing to reinforce and take ihubs.  The week started off fairly well for the Imperium as we were able to push back on some of the constellations that PAPI had previously swept, retaking ihubs in the W-4U1E, OK-FEM, LSC-4P, and F-I56R constellations.

However, PAPI pushed ahead, reinforcing and taking two ihubs in the YX-LYK constellation taking all of the B4H-9W constellation, which holds a series of gates that leads right to the Imperium capital in 1DQ1-A.

On Saturday it was announced that the Imperium would be going with the “Helm’s Deep” plan, so we’re moving from historical and 40K references and back to Tolkien, which involved re-staging the Imperium capital and super capital fleet in the system of E3OI-U.

That leaves the Delve map looking like this as I write.

[Update: The entire B4H-9W constellation was taken back by the Imperium in AUTZ before this post went live.  The see-saw effort continues.]

Delve – Nov. 8, 2020

PAPI also was able to blow up two Sotiyos and a Tatara in QY6-RK.

Other Theaters

Querious remains an active point of skirmishes over ihubs and many have changed hands.  The Imperium forces PAPI to come back to defend ihubs in territory already taken, though cannot hold on to them.  PAPI knocked out most of the Imperium ihubs, but many systems remain empty, with no ihub installed now.

PAPI also finally made headway in “fake Querious,” the constellation that lays within Delve space, taking the ihub in E-VKJV.

Querious – Nov. 8, 2020

The Period Basis region, after some back and forth over a few systems, is now solidly in PAPI hands.  The Imperium has been reinforcing ihubs there, but that is more harassment than anything.

And over in Esoteria, the SIG from The Bastion held out another week deep in TEST space, holding on to their systems and structure and forcing TEST to come back and defend timers.  Their allies in Ferrata_Victrix even took another ihub from TEST, bringing the count of systems held up to nine.

Esoteria NW Corner – Nov. 8, 2020

My Participation

I went on a few fleets this week, and even saw some action, but they were all fairly light ops.  The biggest potential for a fight was when we were out with Mister Vee in 150 Cerbs and PAPI had 400 in system with us… and then chose not to engage with us.  We picked off a few hostiles, but they were not keen to fight.

One common thread with the ops I went on this week was that they were all in late EUTZ and led by FCs from Europe.  Once we got into USTZ, which is when most Imperium timers are set, action dropped off somewhat.  I gather than a lot of us in USTZ were engaged with the big new fad last week, learning the names of counties in the states of Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.  It was kind of a big deal in the moment.

I also moved my fax with the rest of CapSwarm during the jump to the new staging system.

Caps landing on the new Keepstar

That barely counts as an op though, as all I had to do was log in, get in a fleet, and jump to the cyno indicated.  I am glad I got fuel conservation trained to V though, as the mining nerf also reduces ice spawns, so fuel prices are going up.

As such, I ended up with no losses over the week, leaving my loss tally as:

  • Ares interceptor – 11
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 5
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Drake entosis battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 2
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Malediction interceptor – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis ratting battlecruiser – 1
  • Scimitar logi – 1
  • Bifrost entosis command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

Once big timer that was set this week was for the Imperium Keepstar in 49-U6U in Querious.  It has been sitting there for weeks untouched by PAPI.  Now they appear to be turning their gaze towards that.  Killing it would be a morale boost for them.  The system is now cyno jammed and well away from any Imperium staging system at this point.  The armor timer went uncontested as TEST did that shoot with some shield titans and a few supers.  The Keepstar managed to pick off a Minokawa during the fight, but that was the only major loss.

Otherwise the war remains a grind, a waiting game for who gets tired of showing up first.

The PCU for the week dipped a bit.  The end of Daylight Savings Time in most of the US probably skewed the peak time a bit, but there wasn’t a lot new or special to get more people logging in.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632

This week will see CCP introducing a bunch changes with an eye towards having an impact on null sec space.  We shall see if they have any effect on the war.  Expect a sharp drop in NPC bounties.

Other Coverage:

Fifteen Weeks of World War Bee

World War Bee has truly picked up over the last couple of weeks as the previous slow pace of things turned into a crescendo of destruction which has seen trillions of ISK in ships and structures destroyed.  As I wrote previously, the October MER is going to be interesting.

CCP has thrown their own monkey wrench into the machinery with war, as the update last Tuesday made deploying citadels more expensive and complicated as well as nerfing mining in a big way.  Expect prices to rise on everything if the war keeps up its burn rate and the null sec alliances have to secure supplies.

But we did get the UI-only option for the client, which made the big fights more manageable for people running multiple clients.  It isn’t a huge change, but it makes things incrementally better.

Delve Front

It was a rough week for the Imperium.  There were three large scale clashes in NPC Delve, two of which went badly and one was something of a Pyrrhic victory.

The losses… the failed trap at YZ9-F6 and the bubble wrapped Keepstar… tipped against the Imperium more due to server performance than any implementation of strategy or tactics by the enemy.  The first, executed with precision, failed when damage didn’t apply while the latter saw PAPI fill up the Keepstar grid with 149 warp disruption bubbles… a number deliberately chosen because CCP is alleged to view 150+ anchorables as an issue that they will step in and correct by removing them… along with a continuous stream of dictor bubbles in order to make any fight on the grid untenable.

So many bubbles on grid

So PAPI won both.  They got to kill 2.5 trillion ISK in ships, including 16 titans and 27 supers and they got their Keepstar in NPC Delve on the fifth try, and nothing can change that.  A bunch of people in the Imperium are angry about these two events, but experience says that is the way the game goes and you have to be prepared to deal with it or stop playing.  CCP isn’t going to step in and make things better, so we just have to carry on.

Meanwhile the big win, the destruction of the fourth Keepstar, cost the coalition more than 1.2 trillion ISK, including 2,000 battleships lost.

On the upside, while the invaders have managed to get their Keepstar in the region and knock out several Fortizars in NPC Delve and SVM-3K, they have yet to be able to turn any of the ihubs in the region, something they have made a prerequisite for any offensive action so far in the war.

Delve ihubs – Oct 19, 2020 with the PAPI Keepstar system highlighted

If I had to guess, once PAPI gets done with their inevitable move op to the new staging, there will be a push on ihubs in Delve systems near the NPC space and Querious as well as possibly in “fake” Querious, the section of the region that is an enclave within Delve and which remains in Imperium control.

Other Locations

There was a running joke that when we lost a fight we would go hit things in G-M4GK and when TEST lost they would hit TCAG-3.  While the Period Basis region had been mostly quiet since the invaders moved into Querious, as the fourth Keepstar battle raged TEST managed to use the time to with the entosis match for TCAG-3, taking the ihub there as well as in RJ3H-0 further into the region.

The Period Basis / Paragon Soul front

They have since lost the RJ3H-0 ihub and we will see if they contest the TCAG-3 ihub when the Imperium pushes back on that.

Last week I reported that Bastion had captured several TEST systems in Esoteria, which I expected TEST would take back shortly.  Busy in Delve… and Period Basis… TEST has yet to clean up that incursion.

Bastion systems in Esoteria

Furthermore, during the fighting in NPC Delve, Bastion managed to anchor a Fortizar in one of the systems, giving them a base of operations that allows them to continue being a thorn in TEST’s side.  Not something that will win the war, but a distraction none the less.

My Participation

I somehow found the time to get stuck in on the three big fights last week, which meant I spent a lot of hours in New Eden in slow motion.  I also lost some more ships during the fourth Keepstar fight, five Crusaders and a Raven.  I managed to get home safe with my original ships from the other two.

That makes my loss count for the war:

  • Ares interceptor – 11
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 5
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Drake entosis battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 2
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Malediction interceptor – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis ratting battlecruiser – 1
  • Scimitar logi – 1
  • Bifrost entosis command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1

Other Items

CCP put out a trailer regarding their fourth quarter plan, the Phoenix Quadrant.

The sound track syncs well with the feelings within the Imperium.

But the post that went with the trailer says that super carriers will be getting an overhaul as part of this quadrant, including giving them clone bays that allow capsuleers to respawn directly to them in battle, putting them in a ship stowed within the carrier.  That will introduce a new element to the war.

Much hay was made of the fact that The Initiative cut their SRP amounts from a 50% to a 25% of cost policy.  This led to a lot speculation about their finances and concern trolling about why Goonswarm isn’t financing them.  I was more surprised that they were only getting 50% as a matter of course before the cut.  In GSF it is close to 100%, and if you’re in KarmaFleet you get bonus SRP for logi ships, so you can end up making money on a ship loss.  So whether or not this policy change by INIT is significant or not remains to be seen.  They have always been a very independent ally and plot their own course.

And then there is the weekly peak concurrent user count.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359

The war finally saw the Sunday prime time PCU pass the 40K mark, something it hasn’t done since back in April when the pandemic was new and everybody was stuck and home and trying to obey the rules and suggestions to help stop the spread.  It probably helped that the bubble wrap fight was slated to kick off right before the usual peak time, even if no real battle ensued.

Related Items:

Losses in Fountain but a Win in Period Basis

Yesterday during EUTZ PandaFam continued its attacks into the Fountain region where a series of ihubs were set to be contested.  At the end of the cycle, they had added ten more ihubs to their total, bringing the number held as of this moment to 17, taking over the entirety of Taurus and Wyvern constellations, including the key gateway system of D4KU-5.

Taurus and Wyvern constellations

Without ihubs, no further Ansiblex jump gates can be deployed by The Initiative in those areas, hampering the ability to move forces there quickly.  This will also allow PandaFam to quickly deploy Fortizars into those area should they wish to move their staging out of Hophib and into the region, or at least set up Ansiblex jump gates of their own to facilitate the advance into the region.

That leaves the Fountain situation looking like this at the moment.

Fountain – July 21, 2020

PandaFam now holds most of the systems in the area circled in red.  The critical transportation backbone for the Imperium runs between J5A-IX at the border of the Cloud Ring region and Y-2ANO, which is the gateway to Delve.  PandaFam’s position puts J5A-IX and C-4NOD at risk of attack.  Both systems have multiple structures, including Keepstars, but they are likely too distant to hope for Imperium titans and supers to save them.  These systems may be the first Keepstar fights of the war if PandaFam pushes that way.

If C-4NOD falls the region isn’t lost, but mobility in the north will be hindered and the long gate connection to KVN-36 will become the front line of the fight.  The fall back from there is Y-2ANO and Delve.  The connection from Fountain lands in ZXB-VC, which will be a tough nut to crack as that falls within a single jump of Imperium titans and supers.

We’re still a ways from that however.  But the first line of defense in Fountain has been well and truly cracked.

Less contentious was the ihub event down in Period Basis last night.  I wrote previously about how we had lost the ihub in XZ-SKZ to TEST, which gave them a potential foothold down in Period Basis.

Where the ihub was

It is on the boarder with Stain, an NPC null sec region with a bunch of Russians who enjoy nothing more than shooting TEST. (Including, it seems, a TEST Fortizar.)  Perhaps not the ideal invasion route, as their jump bridge network connects up to the Paragon Soul boarder and the combined Legacy and PandaFam titan and super fleets are said to be in the two Keepstars in FAT-6P, which is in the Catch region on the boarder with Querious.

We have failed to take the ihub back from TEST a few times, but Legacy hasn’t really done much to exploit the system either.  Their plan still seems to be to drop POS towers somewhere in our space to exploit.  So yesterday a Baltec fleet went up on Lazarus Telraven, famed FC of the Lazamo and the decision to go all-in at B-R5RB, just as I was finally done with work for the day.  I had a Megathron handy so logged in to go along.  We were once again headed for that ihub, which was about ready to be contested yet again.

ihub event in 22 minutes

We set up on the heavily bubbled CJF-1P to try and catch anybody slipping in from Stain to try and defend the ihub.

Parked at the CJF-1P gate

Lighter response fleets were also deployed and enotsis ships to take the nodes as they appeared.

However, Legacy declined to contest the event.  Aside from one Scimitar that had the bad luck to jump through the gate and into a hungry pack of Megathrons, they did not show.  (I am surprised I was quick enough to get on the kill and even applied some damage.)

The event went our way and we had little to do aside from sit around, help Grath Telkin figure out the GSF SRP system (making sure he put in his favorite ice cream flavor), and watch sumo wrestling on Twitch.  I understand that Asher is responsible for the current sumo obsession in the coalition.  It can be interesting to watch, though everything is in Japanese, so I am sure I am missing the subtleties.  (Though the commercials are anything but subtle. A window into a different culture in that I suppose.)

After the ihub was successfully destroyed and replaced, we headed for home.  We were back to the pre-war state in Period Basis for the most part.

Addendum: The New Eden Post has coverage of the changes in Fountain.

Two Weeks of World War Bee

I think my biggest disappointment so far in the war is the lack of coverage it is getting.  Huge forces are arrayed against each other, clashes of hundreds happen regularly, and thousands have collided several times.  And yet there hasn’t been much written about what is going on.

Last week CCP released a video with the title TOTAL WAR RAGES IN NEW EDEN and I thought surely that this was the coverage I had been waiting for, official acknowledgement by the company.  But, no.  The video was solely focused on the Triglavian Invasion event which currently, if I followed the video, involves about 4 systems total in the game.

I don’t want to begrudge anybody their PvE fleets or attention to the Triglavian events.  The game supports all sorts of different play styles.  But when 100+ alliances are lined up to evict us and four full regions are in play, my sense of what constitutes “total war” in all caps seems to be measured on a different scale.

Basically, Alton Haveri and The Scope seem to be indulging in a bit of sensationalism.  Damn click-bait journalism. *shakes fist*

In looking for coverage I am sure somebody will want to point at a couple of streamers, or Reddit, or a five hour long episode of Talking in Stations where somebody spoke about how they felt about the war, but I don’t have the time or patience for any of that.

I long for the coherent written word (which leaves /r/eve out of the running 99% of the time), and on that front the usual suspects, INN and EN24, haven’t said much. (And New Eden Report seems to be dead again, though every time I say that an article gets posted, followed by another long silence.)  I will give credit to January Valentine for trying to do a series of summary updates on Reddit for a bit, but that fell by the wayside after about a week.

In the past I have generally depended on other sources to get a sense of what is really going on in a war.  I remember a time of ongoing written updates and opinion pieces about such conflicts.  As a line member in a coalition I am probably less well informed than any decent spy.  All I have as a baseline source is a war update thread in the GSF forums which tracks big fights and battles over objectives.  Otherwise, I just write about the bits and pieces of the war I see in person.

Of course we are not really into the interesting bit of the war either.  As I noted last week, we’re not yet to the part where we’re fighting over Keepstars or where titans are clashing, the things that generate headlines, at least when the ISK to real world money calculation is high enough.

But the war so far has kept me engaged, providing that sense of purpose that gets me to log in regularly.  And there are fleets forming and going out pretty much all hours of the day, so there is opportunity to join in as well.

Since I mentioned my PAP link status last week, I’ll keep going with that as a metric.  I was a 33 for the month last week.  That number has risen to 46 as of this writing.  I wouldn’t use that number as a literal representation of my investment… none of that time spent lurking in Catch is counted, for example… but it does show I am logging in.

Another metric I can add in is ship losses.  So far in, in war related activity, I have lost the following ships:

  • Ares interceptor – 5
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Atron entosis frigate – 1
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 1

Nothing bigger than a frigate really so far, though that Purifier loss was on a rough op.  A returning FC brought us out for what turned out to be a work up cruise to get him back into running bombers and they bit off more than they should of in TEST space.  But that is what SRP is for.

For the wider war, the northern front in Fountain saw a lot of action.

The northern theater of operations

PandaFam has been attacking aggressively from their base of operations in Hophib.  The constellations on the Fountain side of the regional gate have had their ihubs reinforced multiple times, so the map there often looks like this:

The Hophib adjacent constellations

As of this writing on Sunday afternoon, according to the structure list on DOTLAN for the region, PandaFam has managed to capture 7 ihubs in the region, along with 2 TCUs, which represents quite a bit of work.

They still have not captured ihubs in any of the critical systems that would break the Ansiblex travel infrastructure which allows us to move fleets from Delve to support The Initiative, though there was an attack on the Ansiblex in KVN-36, on the critical backbone of the Fountain bridge network, that destroyed the structure.  But an Ansiblex is easy to replace.  Attackers need to take the ihub in the system to prevent us from putting up a new one to have anything more than a short term impact.

On the southern front things have been less active.  In Period Basis TEST and their Legacy Coalition allies have managed to keep us from taking back the ihub in XZ-SKZ.  There have been several skirmishes over it, and the ihub remains reinforced, but they still hold it.

Where the ihub fights have been

Otherwise, while there have been fights in the south, the attacks have been nowhere as aggressive and what PandaFam has been doing in Fountain.  Legacy seems content to defend their one foothold in Period Basis, troll entosis in Querious, and scatter POS towers around in hopes of securing an advantage.

Even in Delve, which is closer to Legacy than PandaFam, it is PandaFam that gets out and organizes gate camps and such.

We clash with Legacy often.  There are lots of short, sharp fights with 5-20 billion ISK in losses between the two sides.  So I wouldn’t say they aren’t out fighting, but their allies up on the Fountain front, who had to move across New Eden for this operation, as opposed to just living next door, seem to be putting in a lot more effort.

So it it looks to me two weeks in.

Addendum: Somebody at INN is writing weekly updates on Sunday night as well it seems.  You can try to line that up with what I wrote, if you are so inclined.  That post has more details.

Addendum 2: The New Eden Post has some coverage of the war, so I will have to keep an eye on them as well.

A Week of World War Bee

It has been a busy time in Imperium space.

There is a Jabber command Imperium pilots can use to display how many fleet participation credits, PAPs, you have earned during the current month and over the last 30, 60, and 90 days.

I stand at 33 PAPs, which isn’t a ton compared to some people… I have heard counts beyond 80 for the month… but is a lot for me.  My 90 day total is 57 at the moment and there was a deployment during that time, so having a dozen counts as a pretty active month for me.

Granted, that doesn’t mean I went on 33 fleets of multi-hour duration.  There were a couple where a fast form ping went up and I got into fleet only to have it stand down due the threat having passed.  And I somehow managed to be in fleet at the exact right moment for a capital move op.  It was just a log in, undock, jump to the cyno, then log out level of effort, maybe five minutes maximum.  And on possibly the longest fleet op for me so far, when we flew out to D4KU-5 to support The Initiative and cover a couple of timers with them, we actually ended up with three PAPs because Asher gave us two for a long, dull fleet op, but somebody else captured a PAP for us as well.

A thousand of us kept an eye on the Hophib gate

Still, even with that, I have been out and seen my share of action.  I only regret passing on the fleet that flew one jump and destroyed yet another Pandemic Horde Cormorant fleet. (The kill board pegs the cost of a Corm at about 15 million, but apparently the PH line members are paying 35 million each for them at their staging in Hophib.  Their main FC seems a bit testy if you bring this up.)

And PAP links do not cover the time I have spent out on my own doing things, from moving ship to chasing entosis alerts, to roaming around in hostile space and ringing the entosis alarm for them now and again. (That will get its own post at some point due to my making some non-fatal but amusing errors at the start.)

Out returning the favor

So there has been plenty to do, fleets running at all hours of the day, and fights have been very common.  There has been enough going on that I have pretty much only played EVE Online since the war started.

That said, looking at the big picture, not a lot has happened.  The Mittani was complaining on The Meta Show on Saturday that he hasn’t had a lot to do so far in the war.  I imagine this is in part because the attackers really didn’t start on the war until July 5th while we had been getting ready for the attack for a couple of weeks before hand.

The biggest incursion into our space has been the TEST capture of the ihub in XZ-SKZ, which is the gateway system from Stain into Period Basis, which I posted about last week.

Where the ihub was

Our attempt to take it back failed the first time, and they eventually managed to drop a POS tower in the system.  That would allow them to get a titan in there to bridge people around and give them more mobility in our space.

Dreads landed too late to stop the stront delivery

However, to be used for that the POS would have to survive for a while.  That one died after the reinforce, as did the next one they dropped.

There has also been an ongoing pitched battle up in Fountain between PandaFam and The Initiative over the Taurus constellation, which is the way in to the region from their staging in Hophib.  The ihubs there have been reinforced once more, the way they were a week ago.

Reusing this picture

But, as I wrote last week as well, it is easy to entosis troll and reinforce things or trigger response fleets, but it is work to follow through, to make it stick.  And you have to go after the ihubs.  That is what signifies ownership, what allows you to deploy things like Ansiblex jump gates.  Brave has been making a big deal about taking a territorial control unit, a TCU, here and there.

A TCU taken in Querious

But, since Fozzie Sov became a thing, the TCU is just a flag.  It has no function.  You need the ihub.  So they no more own that system than we own XZ-SKZ down in Period Basis.  The TCU doesn’t do anything.

There have been daily clashes of fleets, wins and losses on both sides, but the big guns have yet to come out.  Capitals haven’t clashed yet, titans haven’t been unleashed yet, Keepstars haven’t been threatened.  Instead, forces are still building up around the various invasion routes where camps have set up on either side of regional gates to keep the enemy fleets from breaking through and running amok.

Bubbles on the regional gates

That doesn’t stop hostiles from getting in.  It is still hazardous to travel solo in anything that can’t get past a warp interdiction bubble.  A group has set up shop repeatedly in 1DQ1-A, our home system, camping the gates leading off the the active fronts and collecting an ongoing harvest of ships ignoring the intel channel and warping to the gate.

Here, in our home system

All the wrecks and little corpses of those who were podded.

Of course, I cannot be too hard on them as I lost my first ship of the war there as well.  I had eyes on the gate and the camp had warped off, no doubt to get a juicy target on one of the other gates.  But before I could warp and finish jumping through, their Sabre returned with some tackle and I was caught just on the edge of the bubble.  One more wreck… but no corpse.  My pod got away.

I was impatient and paid the price.  So it goes.  At least it wasn’t a pricey ship.

And so goes the war so far for me at least.  Nothing huge has happened yet, but it keeps me busy.  And wars like this always start slowly.  It takes a while to establish a foothold in hostile space.  Things only speed up when one side stops showing up.

Addendum: INN has a broader review of the first week of the war.

The Imperium Loses the XZ-SKZ Infrastructure Hub

I was just on about entosis warfare and now one of the first big fights over sovereignty took place earlier today when the Imperium formed up to defend the the infrastructure hub in the system XZ-SKZ in Period Basis.  That is one of those systems on the invasion routes I pointed at in my Tuesday post.

Where the ihub was

There was a fair size battle spread out over the constellation where the system is located in order to contest the nodes.  The battle report shows some fighting took place, though the losses were small… a combined 65 billion… relative to the number of capsuleers listed on the battle report.

Battle Report Header

I managed to jump in a reinforcement fleet that was late to the party (lunch time while I was working from home) and saw no action, so there were more people floating around the constellation that the battle report indicates.

While the Imperium won the ISK war by a small margin, that is cold comfort now that TEST controls the ihub in the system.  That will allow TEST to more easily anchor Upwell structures in the system which will allow them to use it as a bridgehead into Imperium territory.

Jin’taan has a bit of footage from the fight, with a video that sums up with “1 down, 239 to go.”

The next timer down in Period Basis will be around the TCAG-3, on the route from Paragon Soul, which will happen early in the day (for me at least) on Friday.

Period Basis DOTLAN Map

TEST tried to deploy an old fashioned POS in TCAG-3 last night, with an eye to safing up a bridging titan in the system… to the point that the titan was through the gate and in the system… but they were pushed back and the POS tower was destroyed.

They will have to wait for the timer fight I guess.  We had best win that one.  Losing XZ-SKZ we can route around, but losing TCAG-3 would cut off a large chunk of Period Basis from easy access… sort of, the DOTLAN map makes it look further away than it is, so bridging and Ansiblex jump gates are still viable… and perhaps put the battle line at the south end of Delve.

Meanwhile, over in Querious, we did win the contest over the AO-N1P ihub.  That is in the constellation that includes 49-U6U, which is the route in from Catch.

Entosis Drake on the job

The war carries on.

Theaters of Operation

Fighting in Delve ought to seem almost normal to me.  I think we spent time every summer from 2012 through to 2016 invading Delve and kicking whoever lived there out.

Delve – Summer 2012 Poster

We went there with TEST and Pandemic Legion in 2012 (seems like strange times now), against TEST in 2013, against somebody nearby in 2014 (we owned the place for a bit, but gave it up), against Darkness and NCDot in 2015, and then finally against LUMPY and a few others when we fled the north after the Casino War to set up shop in the region in 2016.

And yet, here in 2020, I don’t feel like I “know” the region all that well.  I know some of the key spots, our staging in 1DQ1-A, the path up into (and through) Fountain down which I traveled so many times, and some key intersections, like 1-SMEB and the run through Aridia.  But now that we are fighting a war, I wanted a clearer visualization of the region.  Despite living there for four years, I have spent most of that time deployed in space belonging to others and fighting there.  Since we arrived we’ve only had to chase small gangs out of Delve.  We’ve not been invaded.  Time for something new.

I went looking for a map that would cover the area where the war is taking place.

DOTLAN EVE Maps was my first stop.  It has logical maps of all the regions.  That is very useful for navigating within and individual region, but less so when you want to show more than one region.  They do have a combined Delve/Querious/Period basis map, which shows three of three of the regions we are defending.

Also, DOTLAN’s maps, being logical in an attempt to get the systems nicely lined up showing the jump gate connections in as little space as possible, do not reflect how the systems are oriented in space or the distance between stars, which plays into where Ansiblex jump bridges can be deployed and where capitals can jump.

The in-game map shows the distances between star systems fairly well.

Looking at the in-game map

You get some sense of the distances between regions… far further than any capital can jump or Ansiblex can bridge… which explains why some foothold systems like TCAG-3 are going to see plenty of action.  However, readability of the in-game map is, frankly, shit.  As I have said, it is an impressive site to show your friends if you’re showing them the game, but it isn’t all that useful when you’re trying to navigate New Eden.

It isn’t completely useless.  You can get some information out of it, see systems where battles have been going on.

The hot spot in Period Basis

TCAG-3 has been a focus point because it is at one end of the regional gate that lays between Period Basis and Paragon Soul, regions held by the Imperium and Legacy Coalition respectively.  Legacy getting control of that system and being able to lay down structure would let them roll up our southern flank. (That particular number reflects a Legacy push into the system.  We lost more ships, but held the field. I went out for lunch about five minutes before the pings went out for that fight, so completely missed it.)

But back to maps.

In between the DOTLAN and the in-game map is GARPA Topographical Survey, the home grown map tool available to Imperium pilots.  It has been around for quite a while, and there was even a version released to the general public at one point.  It is less readable than DOTLAN, but much clearer than the in-game map.  Also, it has nice pastel shades for regions.

The GARPA view of the southern theater

That shows how Delve, Querious, and Period Basis are lined up, along with the strange way that Querious bisects Delve, linking the two regions rather intimately.

You can also see the Legacy regions of Catch, Paragon Soul, Esoteria, and Impass and the routes through which those invading us must come. (Stain is NPC null, but there is a path in from there as well.)  Viewed close up, with system names visible:

Might need to click on this to read system names…

As I mentioned above, most of the action up to this point has been coming our of Paragon Soul and into Period Basis, with some ventured out of Catch and Aridia.  However, that seems likely to change, with the emphasis likely to be on the Catch route into Querious and Delve.  The two staging Keepstars, and the super fleets they are holding, are in FAT-6P in Catch, and the first target seems likely to be 4-07MU, which is the Imperium outpost in Catch.

The Foothold in Catch

At least I assume that is why they are amassing a super fleet there.  They can’t jump into our space, so they have to take the gate to 49-USU in order to get within range of anything.

And then there is Fountain, which doesn’t fit nicely on the above map without making it huge.

The northern theater of operations

There are three was into Fountain besides Delve.  Outer Ring is an NPC null sec region, while Cloud Ring, the route we took during the Fountain War back in 2013, seems quiet for the moment.  PandaFam has instead set up shop in Hophib in Aridia, which lets them base out of a low sec NPC station which cannot be assailed.  That is the upside.

The downside for them seems to be that getting to Hophib is a bit of a pain and doesn’t put them close to anything vital.  The main spine of the region runs between KVN-36 and C-4NOD, that epic gate jump up the left side of the region that is the primary highway for the Imperium to head north, and the axis on which our activity there centers. (Those two systems are simply next to each other on the DOTLAN region map.)  PandaFam has to go quite a ways to disrupt that, while the jump bridge network lets The Initiative respond to them speedily from the center.

Still, PandaFam, after some initial setbacks, appears to have made more progress than their allies in the south, reinforcing the Taurus constellation next door to their staging.

All reinforced as I write this

They still have to get in and fight the node contest, but that will be chaotic with nodes for all six systems spawning in a short time frame.  A foothold there won’t break the Imperium, but if they can snap the jump bridge network that lets The Initiative deploy there quickly it could force us to defend further back or spend a lot of time taking gates to get all the way around to where PandaFam is pushing.

Anyway, that is where we are fighting and will likely continue to be fighting for a while.  We will see what the new day brings.

Opening Moves in the War

It was a busy day in null sec yesterday.  A lot happened.  There were a massive number of ships in motion.  Yet almost nothing of real consequence came to pass.

So it goes.

The day started full of promise.  There was a fireworks event planned at the Imperium’s main Keepstar in 1DQ1-A, with more than 1,700 people in system and fireworks going off all over, which was enough to drag you frame rate down into the low teens.

The Keepstar lit by fireworks

The firework effects are relatively small compared to the size of the structure, but the cumulative effect of them going of lit up the whole tableau.

I had to peek in on that via an alt, as a couple hours before that kicked off there was a ping from Asher Elias to Reavers that was too hard to pass up.

SUPER IMPORTANT. TORP BOMBERS UNDER TOM FLOOD, NEED AT LEAST 25 REAVERS FOR THIS. IF IT SUCEEDS YOU’RE HEROES FOREVER. USE REAVERS SIG COMMS

Special operations can be a treat.  I love a big fight and, frankly, I am happy enough just shooting structures when it comes down to it, but something out of the ordinary is always welcome.

So a pack of Reavers flew off… and almost messed up the mission when our first black ops battleship warped with us straight into a gate camp in 1DQ1-A and got popped along with a couple of bombers.  The fuel truck got through the gate with 8% left in structure and had to tether up on the other side to repair.

A replacement blops was found, a Marshall, which is an 8 billion ISK ship.  But it looks good and, as fit, it aligned and warped off faster than the bombers as we moved to our destination.

Our hot rod blops

We moved carefully, eventually setting up shop in a dead end system in Stain that would allow us to drop onto a range of systems where Legacy Coalition was expected to drop a new Keepstar.

This Keepstar was to be the new staging base for their invasion of Delve.  But we had eyes all over and watched likely freighters come and go, bridge this way and that, because they knew they were being watched and no doubt feared that we would crash the party when they decided to anchor the structure.  And our hope was no less than to drop on the freighter and blow it up as it prepared to disgorge the Keepstar.

We even knew the timing that they wanted to align with, as they wanted the Keepstar live and deployed to in time for their own 19:00 UTC state of the alliance meeting to announce the start of the war.  Since it takes 24 hours to online a Keepstar in your own territory, the window of opportunity was pretty clear.

But being watched made them dither.  Meanwhile, as time went on, more and more Imperium luminaries slipped out of 1DQ to join our fleet.  Most of the major alliance FCs and one of our CSM reps were cloaked up on the blops with us before the decision point came.  Some poor Russian kept asking us in local to leave and go back to Delve so he could carry on farming LP for Nirvana implants, but we never answer back in local.

As we sat there, the Meta Show kicked off, where The Mittani, who had been on coms with us a few times, taunted Vily, the CSM member and leader of Legacy Coalition, that we knew what he was up to, that we were in his head.  If we couldn’t kill the Keepstar, we would at least mess with them.

The likely candidate systems were being watched, but we only had so many eyes, and in the end, after hours of hustling around and PM’ing our lurkers to see if anybody would answer, they dropped the Keepstar quickly in FAT-6P, a few systems over from our foothold in Catch at 4-07MU.

The Foothold in Catch

We got a covert ops cyno in position, but there was enough going on in the target system that tidi was up and it took a bit for the bridge to go up.

The Marshall is ready to send us

But the cyno ship got popped before more than a few of us could get through.  I ended up stuck with the blops.  But that was okay, as there were not many of us and the Keepstar was already anchoring.  In their haste to get things going, rather than giving it a meme name, as TEST tends to do, they named it “1111,” which we took as a sign than we has indeed made them nervous.  It also wasn’t very carefully positioned.  When you lay down a structure you try to face the undock in a useful direction.

Not one of their usual clever names

Asher, who had been through to see the Keepstar only to have his Purifier popped, took a moment to ping out this to the coalition.

Congrats to Test for starting the anchoring if their non-aligned keepstar panic-named “1111”. They meant to start anchoring it 3 hours ago so it came out with their 19:00 SOTA but a few brave bomber boys kept them flummoxed and confused for 3 hours while they cyno’d around Stain and Catch trying to lose us. A great start to the war for them! Looking forward to their pilots waiting for 3 hours after their SOTA before they can do anything!

With that ping “1111” became the new battle cry as people at the fireworks party in 1DQ began to repeat that in local.

GIF of 1DQ local

Expect “1111” to come up a lot.  At least you’ll know where it came from now.

This Keepstar was placed in the buffer zone between Legacy and the Imperium, which was yet another violation of the Non-invasion pact between the two powers, but with only a few hours to go before it ended, it was hardly going to change anything.

We made out way back home, disappointed that we hadn’t gotten to kill the Keepstar, but happy enough to have had an impact.  I actually had to leave part way through the vigil on the blops to go fire up the BBQ and cook some lunch for my family.  I had enough time to do that, eat, and get back on the blops again before anything happened.  Sometimes we just sit and wait.

It was about time for the State of the Goonion.  The Mittani read a prepared speech, the text of which has been posted on INN, in which he announced that our own war aim was to destroy TEST Alliance Please Ignore, that they were to be the Carthage to our Rome.  An list of 102 alliance might arrayed against us, but we would have one real target.

And once that was over, the form up for war began.  TEST seemed to have some plan to start the war well into July 5th, but so far as we were concerned, if the NIP between the Imperium and Legacy was to end on a date, we were going to get started at 00:01 EVE Online time, so declined to wait around for them to have their SOTA or for their Keepstar to anchor.

This led to a series of clashes across the map.  Up north PandaFam came out of their staging in Hophip and into Fountain where they fought several engagements with The Initiative, which was watching that way into our space.

Meanwhile, down south, TEST seemed to be ready to form up for battle on the Period Basis/Paragon Soul border, where the systems TCAG-3 and G-M4GK form the connection between our territories.  This led to… not much at all.  I flew on down with the spec ops group in an ECM frigate, ready to cause trouble.

ECM birds flying

However, while a fight threatened to develop, with TEST forming up fleets, they would inevitably stand them down or leave them idle.  They did poke into Querious and manage to reinforce the Ansiblex in 49-U6U, and there was a brief clash as they came through into TCAG-3, but no huge brawl developed.  They seemed to still be on their own timetable, set to have a meeting at 19:00, move into the new Keepstar once it anchored, and then get on with the war.

So the opportunity was taken to go in and reinforce a bunch of their infrastructure hubs in Paragon Soul and a few more in Esotaria.

Systems with an orange boarder have been reinforced

We seem to have stolen a march on the invaders, though these are more morale points than anything tangible.  The first day of counting coup was fun, but made no real change to the situation.  We are still greatly outnumbered by foes who plan to assail us from multiple directions.  They will get their act together and come for us, sooner rather than later.

Visiting the Blood Raiders Shipyard

As mentioned in the notes for the YC119.5 update, the Blood Raiders Shipyard is now a thing.  It is a special new PvE event… a null sec raid if you will… that has the possibility of dropping blue print copies of special Blood Raiders capital ships.

The first step in the whole thing is actually finding the shipyard.  There will only ever be one shipyard in space at a time and it will spawn somewhere in Blood Raiders territory, which spans the regions of Delve, Querious, and Period Basis.  In order to locate the shipyard you have to find one of the Blood Raider mining operations and follow ships from there back to the shipyard.

The Imperium incursion SIG went to work finding it after it was supposed to spawn, some time on Thursday, and by Friday the shipyard had been located in the system E-DOF2 in the Period Basis region.  The tale of its discovery is the subject of a post over at INN.

Having found the shipyard, there is the whole “blowing it up” aspect to master now.  As I noted in my post about the YC119.5 update, I am not sure if having the shipyard in our part of space is a blessing or a curse.  From what I heard about the trial runs on the test server, the Blood Raider reaction forces creamed every attacking force by burying it in numbers.  As noted in the story linked above, RED Alliance threw a small Rattlesnake fleet at the shipyard and promptly lost most of it.  INN had follow up posts about further attempts including a force of frigates trying to put the shipyard into reinforcement mode.

The shipyard is a special citadel and only has a single 24 hours reinforcement, which means you only have to go through two rather than three fights to kill it.  But so far nobody has has managed the first fight and it sits there in space unharmed.

Since this was something new in New Eden and not too far from home, I decided to fly down to take a look at the shipyard myself.  That meant setting a course for Period Basis and RED Alliance space.  I got out my alt, put him in his Buzzard (so he could scan down the site), and sent him south.

Headed to Period Basis

We are set blue with RED Alliance, so I didn’t have to worry about the locals shooting me.  However, with any space attraction, I did keep alert for possible gate camps on the way down.  Somebody is always looking to shoot tourists.  There were a couple of camps but, fortunately for me, they were blue.

When I arrived at the system I launched combat probes, cloaked up, and then made myself a safe spot from which to work.  For my first scans of the system I was looking for structures, but didn’t come up with any likely results.  I could have save myself some time if I had read the patch notes where it says;

They Blood Raider Sotyio does not show up on the tactical overlay, nor can it be probed down. The best way to find them is to try following a Blood Raider hauler (Bestower or Impel), coming to pick up minerals from a mining operation. There will always be a mining operation in the system with the Blood Raiders Shipyard.

I changed that to ships and found an extremely dense ball of Amarr ships, including Apocalypse and Bhaalgorn battleships.  I narrowed down my focus on that, getting 100% results pretty quickly, then warped in at 100km so I would stay cloaked.

And I landed right on the shipyard and was immediately uncloaked.

Back to my safe!

I quickly aligned back to my safe spot, bookmarked my position, and then warped back to my safe to cloak up for a return trip.  I warped back at 100km from my bookmark and landed far enough from anything that might decloak me to be safe for the moment.  My overview did not show much going on, just a few people shooting at the structure.

Initial overview…

That might have been some of the Succubus frigate fleet mentioned in the INN post.  What I did not see was any Blood Raiders on my overview.  In fact, I didn’t even see the structure, which reminded me that new things in the game often don’t get added to the overview by default.  I added the structure to my travel overview. (The pic above was after I did that.)  They I started looking around in space to see if I could see any Blood Raiders.  They were definitely out there, I could see lasers chasing the frigates around the vicinity of the shipyard.

The Shipyard with lasers

Those were dreadnoughts, which seemed to be strewn about the undock area of the shipyard.  But I knew there had to be more ships about.  I tried the default “ALL” overview that CCP provides and was pleasantly surprised to find that they had added the new ships to that.  I have, in the past, had to add things to “ALL.”  And with that I was suddenly aware of just how many Blood Raiders ships were lingering in the area.

Lots of Blood Raiders

The overview was full, with pages and pages of Blood Raiders ships.  There were dozens and dozens of ships out there.  I could see fleets of Blood Raiders ships cruising around.

A flight of Augoror cruisers orbiting the shipyard

Not many of the ships on grid seemed interested in the frigates flying about taking potshots.  In fact, so far as I could tell, only the Chemosh dreadnoughts seemed to be firing on them.  There was a gaggle of them on the undock and some more spread out around the shipyard.

Chemosh dreads on the undock

The subcaps seemed mostly interested in warping off to where every they go when they’re done with their task.  I could see the bright streaks of ships warping away every so often.  However, for every ship warping off I say what seemed to be a couple more stuck mid-warp.  There was a large number of ships either bouncing off the back of the structure or actually withing it that were bumping and bouncing and unable to enter warp.

Or such was my assumption.  I was trying to “look” at ships in space and could not do so with many of them, which is generally a sign they are trying to enter warp.  However, they stayed on the overview and I could, by maneuvering the camera around, see ships actually bouncing off the citadel or poking partially out of it.

The shipyard itself seem unperturbed by events.

Shields barely scratched… or not scratched at all really

The shipyard itself seems to be a standard Upwell Consortium Sotyio structure.  It even says so on the side.  Glad to see that Upwell will sell to anybody with ISK I guess.

Look for genuine Upwell marked structures!

The Blood Raiders opted for a spray-on logo though.  That is a special order item not available to mere capsuleers.

Blood Raiders are #01!

They also get the new logo features that came with the YC119.5 update including alliance logo and CEO portrait along with more spray on logos.

CEO Omir Sarikusa sends his regards

I was amused to see that the Blood Raiders shipyard get the same advertising screens around the undock as player deployed structures.

Waiting for “Vote for Xenuria” to go past again…

The Blood Raiders can get a special paint job and their own logos sprayed on the hull, but they cannot opt out of ads!  Anyway, I saw the big new thing in space and beat Mark726 to it no less!  He’s usually the first space tourist on the scene.

The Blood Raiders Shipyard out in Period Basis

Now to see about blowing the damn thing up.

I know some people are angry that CCP decided to try this version of their new NPC response AI in null sec.  And not just in null sec, but in the Goon corner of null sec no less!  “Grr Gons! Hat Gons!” and all that.  Why should they get the new PvE shiny?

The flip side of course is that this new shiny seems intent on destroying as many player ships as possible by dropping overwhelming forces on them.  I am not sure high sec would put up with that.  I am told that many mission runners like the predictability of rewards and that an AI intent on making things difficult might not be appreciated if that is the case.  That is ever the PvE carebear conundrum, a desire for interesting tasks mixed in with an aversion to any loss.

And who could CCP blob more ironically than the Imperium?  Blobbers blobbed  and killed by blobbing NPCs, film at 11.

Of course, that won’t sate anybody feeling left out, but I find it amusing.  And we shall see how long and how many destroyed ships it takes to destroy the first Blood Raiders Shipyard.