If you were looking for a moment to mark the end of the war, this might be as close at you’ll come. It isn’t the end of the destruction or even the end of the fighting as the Imperium dogs TEST in its retreat to Outer Passage, but it is a significant milestone in the series of events.
The Keepstar that PAPI anchored in Delve named “The Tower of Legends” in the T5ZI-S system back in November, just one gate from 1DQ1-A, the capitol of the Imperium, was destroyed last night. That was their staging point, the base from which they sought to assail the final stronghold of the Imperium. That location that was on the same map I posted in the weekly update for so many weeks. One more time won’t hurt I suppose.
That situation is now officially over. The Anisblex jump gate connection to E-VKJV has been gone for a week now, and the ihubs and TCUs have been taken, and now their staging Keepstar is gone. The Keepstar in YZ9-F6, the bubble wrap Keepstar, is gone as well. But T5ZI was the main event.
The form up for the kill was a bit early, but not excessively so. The rules were set out in advance, no capital ships, no alts, and no drones to be deployed. The hope was to get as many people on the kill mail as wanted to be while not overloading the server to the point that the kill mail would fail to generate, the way it did with the NPC Delve fights or the Sotiyos in T5ZI earlier in the week.
Ten subcap fleets were announced, with a flavor for just about anybody.
- Rainbow Lazor (any laser ship with different crystals)
- FC: Asher Elias
- OP 1
- Maelstrom> other Minmatar BS > Winmatar
- FC Name: Dave Archer
- Comms: Op 2
- FC Name: Xanos Xellos
- Comms: Op 3
- Ravens and Rokhs – Caldari Supremecy
- FC: Arakine Zamamammayid
- Op 4
- Gallente best portraits – Megas and others – no drones no problem
- FC Name Klexos
- Comms: Op 5
- Muninn fleet (the FC will SHOCK you)
- FC: Elo Knight
- Op 6
- Can I bring my drake? YES
- FC: Kor Anon
- Op 7
- GARBAGE DAY!!! Any old ship
- FC: Alterari
- Op 8
- Cerb your enthusiasm
- FC: Kretin Valefor
- Op 9
- Battle Badgers & Firework Noctis (no drones)
- FC: Vex Tsnipe
- Op 10
I got a spot in Asher’s fleet, both out of Reaver’s loyalty and because I was happy enough to get my Bhaalgorn out yet again. While I rarely used it during the war, it has become my structure bashing ship of choice. Lasers with standard large crystals never need to be reloaded.
Bhaalgorns were pretty popular, with 48 showing up in his fleet, outnumbering the popular Apocalypse by a few. There was a wide range of laser wielding Amarr ships, from Harbingers to Paladins going in with us.
We jumped from 1DQ, which was under heavy tidi with all of us logging in and undocking, to T5ZI, where a node reinforcement request had been placed in anticipation of the fight. Then it was just a bit of a wait as the timer counted down.
As the time got close, the fleets warped into range and we opened fire as soon as we were able. A weave of beams and projectiles formed on the grid in front of the Keepstar, and tidi began to kick in, dropping down to close to 10%, before settling around 25% for most of the fight. That is actually a pretty tolerable level of tidi. The server had enough power at that point to be immediately responsive to most commands.
The shoot was not uncontested. The Keepstar had a gunner and the weapons one can bring to bear can be quite formidable. Bombs and missiles and fighters and the Arcing Voltron Projector, the Keepstar doomsday weapon, were all deployed against us.
The first time the doomsday reached out it zapped a series of ships, the effect bounces from one to the next randomly, blotting them out, including KarmaFleet DJ Mind1 in a Kronos. The battle bard was down!
If that weapon hit you in a subcap, if you were chosen to “ride the lightning,” you were done.
Fortunately there is a fairly long recharge timer on the weapon. It was estimated that it might be able to fire 6 or 7 times if the gunner got shots off right away. I counted five, so he may have been careful with his shots.
The gunner seemed to be going for high ISK value targets rather than famous names, Mind1 aside. There were any number of notable Imperium FCs on grid to shoot, and up above the Keepstar was The Mittani himself in a Megathron, who was left unscathed by the weapon.
I thought at one point the lightning was going to get to me as it zapped through a couple of Paladins that were not far off, but my number did not come up.
Overall the gunner was able to take out more than 500 ships and capsules, including an unfortunate bunch that got pulled into range of the point defense system and murdered before they could get clear. The battle report shows that the gunner racked up more than 52 billion ISK in kills. But that wasn’t much compared to the loss of a Keepstar.
The Keepstar was undervalued on the kill mail because TEST pulled the rigs, which can run into the tens of billions or more, before the structure was destroyed. A petty move to save themselves a bit of face in the ISK war. And then there was what was inside.
I wish CCP could give us a report as to how much stuff went into asset safety. There were surely a lot of ships and supplies still left in the structure from which PAPI had staged for more than seven months. Any time you settle down into a place it starts to collect junk. And all of the junk that got left behind will be delivered via asset safety to an NPC station in the Irmalin system in the Khanid region. That is a long way from the Dronelands and Outer Passage, where TEST is headed. Individuals can always arrange to have things shipped to Jita or Amarr, though you have to actually go to the station where your stuff has landed in order to reclaim it and make it available to move. I am sure somebody will be camping that station when the time comes.
With tidi in place the shoot took longer than it might have otherwise. It would have gone more quickly if we had just used titans and supers. But we wanted to go with subcaps for the reasons stated above. And it worked out, a kill mail was generated with 2,354 of us listed on it. We all get that on our record of the game.
There was a lot of built up emotion coming out as the moment of destruction came near. Everybody got called to Op 1 on Mumble to try for a long, voice server crashing “Aaaaaaah” chain, where everybody keys up their mic and says “Aaaaaaaah” for as long as they can. It was quite a sustained event. I had to mute the channel after a bit… my wife was wondering what the hell I was doing… but if you want to listen to it, somebody recorded it and posted it up on Reddit. Or there is a video of the explosion with our voice comms running over it.
And then the moment came and the Keepstar exploded, but the “Aaaaaah” chain went on and on, buoyed by our success.
We hung about as the core was scooped, held down by bubbles still lit by the afterglow of the explosion.
Then, once GSOL had spirited away the core, the loot, and the salvage, a new structure was dropped in place of the now destroyed Keepstar.
The Fortizar was not dropped for any sentimental or ceremonial reasons, though that spot will be a special point in space for the Imperium going forward. As I understand it, any super or titan pilots who were in their big ships and logged off when the Keepstar went up will log back in and find themselves in space. The Fortizar is there to be the hub of a camp that will probably end up destroying some more big ships over the next few months.
That done, we were able to head back through the gate to home. There, on the Imperial Palace Keepstar, fireworks were being set off, lighting up the structure. Fireworks might be one of the low key best things CCP has added to the game. They get used a lot.
The work isn’t done yet. Not long after we got back more pings started going out. There are more structures to kill in Delve, Querious, and Period Basis. The Region Commander board is alleged to have over 200 targets that will require attention over the next week or two.
There is also the pursuit of TEST and the rest of PAPI as they return to their homes, old and new.
Then there is the rebuilding effort, the new Delve to create once we clear up the wreckage of the old. But the pace will settle down eventually. A new normal will be created. We’re already headed there. The intel channels are starting to be lively again, with reports of people… not PAPI, but third party groups… roaming through our space looking for targets, the way things were before the war.
Once things settle down, once our homeland is secure again, then there will be some revenge to take. But that will be another war at a later date.