Tag Archives: World War Bee

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.

Entosis Warfare

I don’t think anybody who has to use the Fozzie Sov… or Aegis Sov… mechanics with entosis modules and such is going to argue about it being something of a drag at times.  Some of my most tedious moments in New Eden have been centered around sov wands.

The humble Drake as enotosis ship

The fun thing is that Fozzie Sov is really annoying only when you are determined to take or defend space.  When you feel you have to do it, it can be a serious grind.  But if you just want to troll the sov owners it can be a bit of a low investment lark.  That was certainly what we were up to in the opening hours of the war when we hit Paragon Soul.

Systems with an orange boarder have been reinforced

We had no intention of taking those systems then.  Certainly not with the odds arrayed against us.  But everybody in TEST got notifications about the ihubs being under attack and then reinforced and then again when then nodes decloaked.  It was a bit of a finger in the eye.

Naturally enough they have, as I previously mentioned, returned the favor.  They haven’t been able to manage a sweeping result like the one pictured above, but they do persist.  It is a low effort operation to send out small ships with entosis links to hit ihubs, and we have to respond.  I spent a few hours in quick reaction fleets moving from one location to the next to blap hackers and chase off any cover fleets that might be trying to protect them.  You have to work to catch the cover fleets as they always spook and run when we show up.  Giving us a fight would be satisfying and would undermine the effort to frustrate us.

Because that is surely part of the exercise here, to drive us a bit crazy and get us down as we run after each of these notifications.  But we cannot ignore them, because the ihubs are critical to ADMs.  Lose them and the systems because much easier to take.

An ihub out in space

So sometimes we just stay out, patrolling, chasing down notifications, and doing a bit of ADM work when nothing else is going on just to pass the time.

Jackdaw QRF doing a haven

If nothing else, that pays back the Ansiblex fees that come from traveling back and forth.  (GSOL must be doing a lot of work though, as I have yet to run into one down for lack of fuel.)

Keeping people out constantly on patrol with not much in the way of action is a good way to burn people out, so it isn’t really a viable long term plan.  So the coalition came up with an incentive plan to help combat the entosis hacker menace.

Under the banner of some fresh Cyro Huren propaganda

If you are out and managed to get the final blow on a hacker in our space, you can post the kill mail in the forums and receive a 50 million ISK bounty.  If the entosis module drops you can contract it to the alliance for an additional 10 million ISK if it is tech I and 150 million ISK if it is tech II.

As an incentive program, this started out pretty well.  There were a few people racing to chase down hackers, with one guy in a Tengu knocking out quite a few.

I wasn’t sure what would be a suitable hunter, but I went out to return the favor of annoyance with a bit of my own when I had some spare time.  I parked an Ares interceptor with an ECM burst jammer and a 2 second align time in the middle of Querioius and waited around for some notifications.

When a notification came up I would just zip out to the system and warp to the ihub.  Once there I align out to the nearest structure, click warp, then set off the ECM burst, an area effect target lock breaker, and then away I go before anybody can lock me up.

Aligned out for warp

If I land right and the ECM burst hits, I land on the structure I warped out to and look back to see that the attackers are no longer making progress.  CONDI making progress means op success.

Hit on that one

That means the entosis link lost its lock and the hacker is sitting there waiting for it to finish its five minute cycle so they can start it up again.  And if I missed, then I just warp back in again until I get a hit.  Since I am too fast to lock up I just land, burst, and warp off.  I had a dozen Caracals sitting on one hacker unable to stop me.  At another they had a Sabre with them and kept putting up warp disruption bubbles, but the Ares is interdiction nullified, so it passes through bubbles without a care.

And, if I keep them hanging around until a response fleet shows up I get on the kill mail, having applied electronic warfare damage to them.

Of course, even with all of that, some hackers slip though.  It looks like they hostiles managed hit six ihubs successfully yesterday, though five of those were on the far fringes of the region.  We will see if they come back to contest the capture event when the time comes. (Edit: A check this morning shows that most of the timers were allowed to lapse without contest.)

The conflict is heating up on the border between Catch and Querious, and the gate in 49-U6U is now watched a lot more closely.  A few ihubs on the far end of the region might not matter compared to trying to push us back from the boarder so they can establish a foothold in the region.

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.

Day One of World War Bee

Sunday morning found many alerts in my inbox when I logged into EVE Online.  It seemed that our foes were set to strike back after we reinforced most of the Paragon Soul ihubs last night.

Entosis alerts

This is something I never saw much of in TNT because Goonswarm Federation holds all the ihubs in our space, the ihub being the important bit in an capturable null sec system. (The EVE University wiki has more on this if you are interested.)  Every time somebody starts to hit one with an entosis wand we all get a notification.

So there were pings for fleets as soon as Jabber came up, so I jumped in a Jackdaw fleet being led by Havish Montak that filled up quickly then sped off to defend our space.  Other fleets were out for various things, and our first task was to push NullSechnaya Sholupen out of 1-SMEB again, where they were shooting the jump bridge and being pests.

After chasing them off, killing more than a few along the way, we turned around and headed towards Querious, where Legacy had been hitting ihubs.  Another fleet was out to go after the entosis ships while we went after the Brave Collective cover fleet.  We caught up with them in OGY-6D and, outnumbering them heavily, sent them running after blowing up more than fifty of their fleet (plus capsules), including their two battlecruiser boosters.  We then chased the remainder half way across the region as they tried to get away.

Out in the bubbles in my Scalpel

When the chase was over we went back and covered and ADM fleet before returning to base.  More fleets went out almost immediately, one warping off just as we were arriving back.

They’re warping off as we land

I helped with another quick op to clear out some local gates.  It is a bad time to travel alone in Delve.  The hostiles have been setting up gate camps all along key routes, sometimes right on the gates in 1DQ1-A.  It is also kind of a crazy time to travel as GSOL has been re-working the jump bridge map to facilitate movement to the various battle fronts, often setting up parallel routes.  That is good for moving us into battle, but maybe not so good if you haven’t updated the jump bridge list in GARPA in the last couple of hours.  Things have been changing a lot.

After that I took a break and went about the day.  By the time I got back things were pretty quiet.  I think that, perhaps, starting a war on Sunday might have been a bad plan.  While I know Imperium people who basically stayed up all night long from the start of the war, the game tends to peak around 19:00 UTC and then drops off as the Euro folks who have to go to work in the morning head off for the night.  So on my return we were back to a slower pace, with ADM fleets going out and not many pings.

A few things went on while I was away.  Up in the north The Initiative managed to pop three anchoring Pandemic Horde Raitarus as well as a POS in the PandaFam staging system of Hophib, with only minor losses for the effort. (Somebody lost a Claw.)  On the down side and TEST Muninn fleet and an Evictus Eagle fleet savaged an Imperium Baltec fleet and managed to reinforce the Ansiblex jump gate in TCAG-3 down in Period Basis, where we skirmished a bit with them last night.

Meanwhile, Progodlegend gave the TEST SOTA at 19:00 UTC, quotes from which, as well as a link to the whole thing, are available here. (I’d have linked something other than INN, but nobody else seemed to have covered the SOTA.) I find even listening to our own propaganda to be trying, but this was eye rollingly bad from where I sat.

Good propaganda should always have a simple theme.  The Mittani focused on TEST in his SOTG on Saturday.  TEST is our new main enemy, and as long as they exist we’ll be targeting them.  Our long time desire to burn down NCDot, where many of the original corps for Band of Brothers still reside, is now a thing of the past.  TEST is the focus.

Progodlegend spent quite a while telling people that Goons were bad at EVE, never leave Delve, never take fights, and never deploy anywhere without TEST holding their hand.  With that build up, we ought to be a push over.  But we’re also dangerous.  A mysterious new Goonswarm has shown up and actually fights.  I am not sure where they came from given most of the speech.  Did we hire somebody?  But New Eden is coming together to crush us… because the other coalitions have been forced by us to just sit in their space until now?  I was there back in 2016 when we fled to Delve and it sure seemed like they could have put in the effort back then.

It struck me as trying to have it both ways, that Goons are a foe that can’t fight, yet has somehow oppressed the rest of null sec to the point that they have had to band together 102 alliances to come and get us.

I know, it would be unlike Progodlegend to over-hype something.

Anyway, these sorts of speeches rarely have any sort of impact on the outcome of wars.  I learned that early on in my null sec career when the first foes I faced declared that Goons would be driven from Deklein.  Didn’t work out that way.  Both sides talk themselves up, yet one side inevitably loses.  Somebody will end up being proven to be wrong.

On the plus side for TEST, their Keepstar in FAT-6P anchored successfully, though it remains a point of amusement for propaganda purposes.

Visit today!

A second Keepstar was put down in FAT-6P as well, then transferred to NCDot, which was spotted moving capitals down south as part of a PandaFam fleet.  They’re allied with TEST, but won’t be sharing a Keepstar with them.  Trust seems to be an issue.

So it goes.  There were a few skirmishes in the evening, and quick response fleets zipped around dousing the occasional spark (and doing ADM work when idle), but nothing much changed.  And for all the entosis effort that the enemy seemed to be putting in early on, the net result appeared to be just three ihubs reinforced in Querious.

But it was just day one and not everybody was even deployed yet.  There will be more to follow I am sure.

Also, as a side note, there was a CSM15 statement posted to the forums asking CCP to pretty please not do something to inadvertently mess up the war.  They did that last year when they dropped Drifters on Delve, with their annoying behavior, while we were off fighting in Tribute and Vale of the Silent.  The forum post got the usual angry, twisted reactions that most any forum post gets.  There is no winning.

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 Purified popped, too 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.

Hangar Work as War Approaches

Lots of stuff has been going on in null sec with war looming.  I mentioned getting out of Cloud Ring and the last Keepstar there already.  And then there are the ADM ops, people out ratting and mining to improve our defenses.  Even The Mittani has been our in a Procurer “digging trenches” for our defense.

There have also been some ops to cover further citadel removals, both unanchoring our own and shooting a few that might get used by the approaching foes.

Nobody will be docking up in that Athanor

I did get a surprise on one op.  They don’t tell us where we are headed when an op starts… operational security and spies and all that… so we showed up at one Fortizar and I immediately thought, “Oh, I have some ships here I have been meaning to fly back to our home Keepstar!” and then it got taken down and I got the note that all of those ships are now in asset safety.

Oh my

I am going to have to pay to get them back I guess.

The hostiles are starting to setup shop around us.  Pandemic Horde has been moving into Hophib in Aridia as a base to use against Fountain.  NullSechnaya Sholupen has been working out of Sahkt to hit Delve. (My ships were piled up in Sakht waiting for a clear time to slip past them.)  They took a shot at one of our Anisblex jump gates in 1-SMEB last night.  And Legacy has been edging up 4-07MU, our foothold in Catch that guards the route into Queirious and Delve.  So there have been some ops to counter that.

But I have also been going through ships in my hangar.

Since the retreat from the north at the end of the Casino War, fighting has been mostly done as deployments.  Sure, there are home defense form ups all the time in Delve, but those are more bug hunts than stand up fights.  So war has meant deploying for the last four years.

And when I deploy, I tend to take a ship or two on a move op to where and then, once the logistical arm of the coalition catches up, I buy any additional ships or replacements I need there.  When we head back to Delve I fly or ship whatever I have left over home.

I usually come back with more ships than I went out with, so they have started to accumulate in my hangar in our main Keepstar.

With war coming to us, I won’t be taking ships anywhere.  We’ll be forming up and undocking from home.  So I decided to make sure my fits were up to date.

This can be an issue.  I was on an op just last night where I found that the ship I was flying had the fit from April, but we got a new fit in June.  Things change, and I have ships that are years out of date gathering dust.  So it was time to change that.

Not every ship in my hangar part of a doctrine anymore.  But some have hung around long enough to become viable again.  I found a Hurricane from long ago and refit it to the new Mosh Master doctrine fit. (See last week’s Meta Show, starting at about the 49 minute mark, for Asher’s story about the Mosh Master.  Hint: Don’t look at him!)

Hurricane in my hangar

Fortunately the market at our main Keepstar, while not quite Jita, is a pretty decent place to find things.  The trade amounts from the May MER put Delve in fourth place.  Way behind Jita and not even half of Amarr, but close to Dodixie and way ahead of Hek, which is in 6th place.

  1. The Forge (Jita) – 556 trillion
  2. Domain (Amarr) – 49 trillion
  3. Sinq Laison (Dodixie) – 23 trillion
  4. Delve (Goons) – 21 trillion

So I was able to update my fits as I needed.  I even got my Apostle back online with the current fit.  Fortunately most of the changes it needed were relatively inexpensive when it comes to capital modules.

Refit Apostle

I also re-applied to CapSwarm, the capital ship operations group.  When I swapped from TNT to KarmaFleet back in January all of my group affiliations were undone and I had to re-apply to all of them.  I went back to the ones I felt some attachment to, like Reavers and the now defunct Liberty Squad, but didn’t bother with some others that I did not really participate in, including CapSwarm.

But, with was coming to us, I figured it might be a good time to get back onto that.  I was accepted back in and got my alt lined up with the right implants so he is ready to go with that.  My main will stay in sub caps.

There was also a new special operations squad that opened up, basically to do some of the things that Reavers used to do when Asher wasn’t the capo di tutti i capi of the FCs, the Sky Marshall.  Now he no longer has time for that, so the new squad might give some of a chance to do something besides main fleet or caps.

Otherwise, the war seems imminent.  Hostiles are closing in on Delve. Progodlegend is talking about a war of annihilation.  And, as noted above, forces are in motion around our frontiers.  It looks like things might be on come Sunday at 00:00:01 UTC when the NIP expires.

For those wanting a little background on the war, Jin’taan has a post and a video exploring the war from his perspective.

A State of the Goonion is planned for July 4th for the Imperium that will talk further about the war, so we’ll see what news comes with that.

The Last Keepstar out of Cloud Ring

Yesterday the Imperium formed up again to cover the removal of the last of our Keepstars from Cloud Ring.  It was another big form up, a display of strength, a “filthy blob,” as streamer EVELog called it back when we dropped a huge force to cover the Keepstar deployment to 6RCQ-V two years ago.  I wish that clip was still available.

It wasn’t quite that big of a blob, but there were still a lot of big ships on grid and over 2,000 of us logged in and moving to cover the operation.  Fortunately the last Keepstar was only in B-DBYQ, on the other side of the gate from our staging in J5A-IX, so the move to get there was the least painful of the three operations.  The Mittani was even spotted undocked in a Revelation.

Over the Keepstar logo

He had to have chosen that spot on purpose.

The movement of the fleets followed the usual plan, with subcap fleets warping ahead to cover both sides of the gate, then capital ships gating through by fleet, aligning to the Keepstar, the warping off to tether up on it.

There was word that PanFam might make a move to interfere with this last Keepstar removal, but that apparently meant a small interceptor gang hanging around for a bit before being chased off once the subcaps were stationed around the gate.

The final Keepstar from the J5A gate

A few other people did show up, either by accident or in order to watch the spectacle.  Those that got too close were shot pretty quickly.  A rather surprised Tengu pilot managed to get shot by a titan… op success maybe?  They were carrying a covert cyno though, so they were up to no good.  I managed to get paints on a Stiletto that wasn’t quite fast enough to get away.  Nothing slowed us down and the pile on the Keepstar began.

There we are

There were some stragglers who missed previous withdrawal ops who jumped their capitals into the system, but before the Keepstar removal began the cyno jammers were turned on to keep any hostile capitals from showing up.

Getting our jam on in 1 second

And then, once things settled down and everybody was on the Keepstar, we sat and waited for a bit.  I put my camera at a set angle and managed to get a before and after shot.

Keepstar is there

Keepstar is gone

So it goes.  I even managed to slip into a fleet with my alt Claude Ring, which I created about four years ago and held onto for just such an opportunity.  He asked in Local why the Imperium was leaving him.  Then, when he spoke up back in J5A, people said they thought they were done with him.

That was pretty much all I created that character to do.  He has barely enough skills to fly T1 logi in newbie fleets, just so he could be there.

Meanwhile, we started running the whole op in reverse, with subcaps on the gate and capitals aligning back out.

Capitals aligning to the J5A gate

Some warps and a lot of tidi later, everybody was back at the Keepstar in J5A.  After that, there were move ops to reposition forces.

Flight of the Faxes

Later on today, at the regular Saturday fireside, The Mittani will be giving us a war planning update and is expected to announce some new ops coming up.  We still have a week to go before the NIP between the Imperium and Legacy Coalition expires.  We are still working on bring up ADMs and getting supplies laid in.  If nothing else happens it will be a long week of waiting.

Consolidation and Preparations for World War Bee

The official Imperium line is that the upcoming conflict, should it come to pass, is going to be called “World War Bee” in order to distinguish it/blur it with the “Casino War” of 2016.  A write up of the Imperium’s narrative is over at INN.  There is even a video.

Propaganda is always a big part of these wars, and r/eve is filling up with entries.

Meanwhile, out in null sec, things are in motion.  As I mentioned on Monday, the weekend saw capital ships moving north.

That was in preparation for covering the unanchoring of several Keepstars that north of our Fountain frontier.  Two in Pure Blind had already been taken down, with one destroyed along the way.  This week the pull back has focused on the Keepstars in Cloud Ring.  Those were timed to get the furthest, the one out in 6RCQ-V, first, then work back towards J5A-IX.

Kirkland Protein Star unanchoring

While the Pure Blind removals were attempts to slip in and yank the structures without raising any fuss, the Cloud Ring operations were to be marked with a complete lack of subtlety.  These were to be maximum ship efforts, displays of power, so of course I had to go along for the ride.  I am all about seeing the game at its extremes, and more than 2,000 ships in motion and sitting on a Keepstar certainly qualifies.

Fleets hanging on the Keepstar

I was also interested to see what happens when you take down a structure.  I had never seen that before, so I tried to keep a close eye on things.  However, it turns out that the structure just goes away without much in the way of fanfare.  One moment it is there, the next it is gone.

And then we’re all just hanging in space

The only notice was a notification that popped up announcing that the Keepstar had been moved to asset safety, no doubt the quickest way to whisk it away.

That was all

So most of what I got to watch was the effort it takes to move 2,000 ships safely from J5A-IX to 6RCQ-V and back, which took about three hours to make the journey.  It would probably take five minutes in an interceptor, but an interceptor doesn’t generate 10% tidi simply by taking a gate.  It is an elaborate dance with subcaps going ahead a bit to shepherd the capitals through a gate, then the caps jumping by type, then the subcaps repositioning while the jump timer runs down for the caps so we can do it all again.

Kind of a pain in the butt, and all the more so when you have to count on at least 5% of the operation being distracted by something in real life at any given moment, so ships just sit there when told to jump or take a gate or align.  And it is all the more comical when we are all in the same voice coms channel.  It was a good day to be in the No Chatter sub-channel, where you can only hear FC commands… and swears when people aren’t paying attention at the wrong moment.

That was the longest of the ops.

Pulling the Keepstar from F7C-H0 went much more quickly, it being just a gate and a jump away from our staging, so there was no downtime during the trip, just lots of big ships moving in the same direction.

Colorful titans

That led again to a mass of ships sitting on the Keepstar while we waited for it to disappear and get carted off to safety.

Waiting on another Keepstar

Once it went away… and it belong to The Initiative, so if they used asset safety there was no notification for me… it was time to jump back.  This time there were only 1,700 ships on grid for the final watch, more than a fleet less, which made things a little easier for somebody I am sure.  Still, it was a lot of ships.

Faxes and dreads moving

That op only took about an hour to get through.  Now only one Keepstar remains in Cloud Ring, and that will be going away soon.  We shall see if it is another quiet op or if somebody tries to snatch it.

Meanwhile, back inside the perimeter, a different set of ops has been going on.  In order to prepare for invasion the coalition has been working to raise the ADMs for systems up to level 4, which will prevent hostiles from dropping anything smaller than a Fortizar.  The usual plan is to drop a bunch of small structures, Raitarus usually, to give your fleets a safe spot in the midst of enemy territory.

You do that by ratting and mining, so PvE fleets have been a thing.  A gaggle of ratting and mining ships with some cover will blitz through a constellation taking down the anomalies in order to try and boost the ADMs.  I’ve been out trying to do my part on that front.

Fighting the Blood Raider menace in my Myrmidon

It has been over a year since I last went out and ratted, but the fundamentals haven’t changed all that much.  A fit Myrmidon with platinum insurance ran me just shy of 95 million ISK and I have collected 250 million ISK in bounties so far, so it will be a profitable venture for me at least when I eventually get caught and blown up.  I haven’t joined in on the ADM fleets, even though they count as strategic ops for PAP credit.  I have been just tooling around on my own in pipe systems that are often ignored, watching people come and go.

The war itself is not supposed to start until July 5th, the date that the non-invasion pact between Legacy Coalition and the Imperium is set to expire.  With more than a week left to prepare, it seems to me that there is a distinct possibility that no war will come to us.  We shall see if it comes to pass and what we will end up doing should it not.

Consolidating for Casino War II

The word is out that war may be coming to us again.

In the middle of last week there was a special weekday fireside chat in the Imperium where The Mittani told us that, based on intel received, a chunk of New Eden might be forming up to take another shot at us.  For the first time since we were driven out of the north and started our move to Delve war will be coming to find us.

This past weekend the regular weekly fireside repeated this message and the weekend was spent on preparations for a possible war.  If was was coming, we needed to tighten up out lines of defense and be ready.

Since we set up shop in Delve back in 2016 most of our time fighting has been part of deployments to other regions.  From our foray to Hakonen three years back to the current Cloud Ring deployment, we had been on the road a lot.  The Eye of Terror Jump bridge network extends all the way up into Pure Blind.  We had a staging Keepstar for a while in KQK1-2, on the edge of Tribute, far from home, left over from driving PanFam out of Tribute and Vale.  That one got killed when we tried to remove it via stealth.  The rest of them will be taken down with fleets watching over them as we prepare.

And so I spent some time over the weekend shepherding fleets here and there, keeping capitals safe and hostiles at bay.

Watching big stuff jump and gate

The Goonswarm Expeditionary Force deployment was pulled back from Cloud Ring to Fountain… basically two jumps… to put fleets within the perimeter of the Imperium.  I managed to get all three ships I had there back on the first try.

Mostly though it was watching capital blobs move here and there, getting ready for operations in the coming week to cover structure removal.

Capital will blob up

After that we will be back to our core areas, which are Delve, Fountain, Period Basis, and a little bit of Querious.

The thought of war, of hostiles coming for us, did spur some enthusiasm in those of us who were around through the time in Saranen, when hostile fleets were on the station undock most hours of the day.  Despite the loss and the retreat, it is a time looked back on fondly by many of us for the pretty much non-stop action.  We would form up, undock, fight, dock up, and then do it again.  I probably went on more ops during that time than I have done in any comparable time frame.

Then the situation became untenable as our ISK balance ran down while the hostiles enjoyed essentially unlimited ISK from the now banned casinos.

Things are, of course, much different now.  Delve is much more of a fortress than Deklein ever was.  We won’t be as concentrated as we were in Saranen, as our space is still a lot of ground to cover.

Part of me felt during the fireside on Saturday that this might be all too much to hope for.  With Guardians of the Galaxy/Dead Coalition actually dead and gone, we are back to a tri-polar set of super powers in null sec.  There is PanFam and its allies in the northeast, Legacy Coalition in the southeast, and the Imperium in the southwest.  It isn’t unlikely that two of those powers would join forces against the third.  Certainly Legacy and the Imperium have joined up a few times to go after PanFam.

But PanFam isn’t that close to us now, with a few regions laying between the and Fountain, and they have not shown an inclination to deploy that far from home.  Legacy Coalition butts right up against us, but we have a non-invasion pact, the NIP, with them.  We are not blue with them and we shoot each other freely and roam each other’s space, but the NIP keeps it to that.  We don’t shoot each others structures in the home spaces of the others and we don’t mess with sovereignty.

So one of the questions at the fireside on Saturday was, “What about the NIP?”  It was, at that time, still in place and The Mittani said that if Legacy broke it without warning there would never be another agreement between the two coalitions again.  And without breaking it, an invasion seemed unlikely.

But all this intel could have been wrong.  Intel often gets interpreted with more hope than reality.  People might be seeing shadows.  And Goons have a certain level of institutional paranoia built into their mind set about the galaxy being out to get them.

But it is probably still a good thing to clean up our forward outposts and be ready just in case.  And, since the even the most basic spy has access to the firesides, the word quickly spread.  Over on r/eve the attitude seems mostly dismissive of the idea and was viewed as a chance to mock The Mittani.

And then yesterday an announcement came up on Reddit.  Legacy Coalition announced that the NIP between them and the Imperium would expire on July 5, 2020, basically giving two weeks notice, with a strong indication that war would come then.  The tone on r/eve changed some.  Skepticism remains, but there is also some hope for a big war and the propaganda machines are starting to roll out fresh memes.  Look at all those pink “propaganda” tags in the subreddit today.

We shall see where this ends up.  There is work to be done all around between now and then.

Other coverage:

Addendum: I am reliably informed that the Imperium plans to call this war, should it come to pass, “World War Bee” because “screw you narrative.”  So I guess I can get that tag going for real now.

World War Bee – What’s in a Name?

When life gives you lemons? Don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! GET MAD! ‘I don’t want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these?!’ Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am?! I’m the man who’s going to burn your house down! With the lemons! I’m going to get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!

Wars in EVE Online tend to pick up names of their own when they reach a certain scale or duration.  Probably the most famous three are:

  • The Great War
  • The Fountain War
  • The Halloween War

Those are pretty much the agreed upon names by all sides at this point, CCP included, and each name says something about the war itself as opposed to the parties involved.  “The Great War” is so named because of its scale and being a war like no other war before it.  “The Fountain War” is named after the region in which the primary conflict took place.  And the “Halloween War” was so named based on when it started in earnest.

We are now in the midst of another war worthy of a name that all will remember.

Over at the Nosy Gamer the start of the attack on Imperium space was dubbed “The Casino War” due to the attackers being funded by the online ISK casino I Want ISK.  That name carries on there through to today.

More recently, the war got “real” with new alliances entering the fray leading to larger and larger battles.  This led to CCP once again seeing such battles as a way to promote the game.  Again, nothing sells the game like epic, large scale battles.  Even The Scope, CCP’s in-game lore focused news service, began doing reports about the war.

CCP initially started calling this conflict The Easter War, due to the proximity of the holiday to one of the battles.  That name seemed somewhat forced.  Certainly I cannot recall anybody using that name before CCP started using it.

The war that started LONG before Easter...

The war that started LONG before Easter…

I am not sure where CCP picked up that name, as most common name I saw before that point was the previously mentioned “Casino War.”  However, CCP clearly couldn’t use that name as it would bring into focus, and imply endorsement of, gambling in EVE Online, and along with it the specter of RMT.  (However CCP didn’t flinch at “Moneybadger Coalition,” but the connection with online gambling isn’t apparent unless you know the story so far.)  So Easter seemed to be the plan, despite it being a religious holiday.

Meanwhile another name had begun to gain traction, “World War Bee.”

That name was a rallying cry for foes of The Imperium to unite them into a war against Goons.  The Goon symbol is the Fat Bee after all.

Look for the Goonion label!

Look for the Goonion label!

Somebody at CCP decided that this was better than “The Easter War” and they adopted that as their name for the war as well, and soon posts about “World War Bee” appeared on the somewhat neglected EVE Updates site.

CCP endorses the name

CCP endorses the name

CCP officially and publicly adopting the narrative of its foes for the war did not sit well with Goons.  That felt like a partisan response to a group that has seen CCP playing favorites in the past. (Roll clips from the T20 scandal, which caused the creation of the CSM, where other issues have come up.

So The Imperium leadership decided to come up with their own name for the war, which The Mittani announced yesterday during his fireside chat. (Streamed on Twitch every Sunday, replay available here.)  After sifting through some suggestions, the proposed name for the war is:

  • The War of Sovless Agression

Hrmm…  I mean, I like where it is trying to go, wrapping in a historical reference while taking a jab at our foes for not actually holding much sovereignty themselves.  But it feels like it is too much work for not enough pay off… something of a “try hard” name, which I think is the term of art.  I guess it would be fine for talking point propaganda, but it isn’t something that effortlessly slides off the tongue.  I have to think for a second before I say it, and I don’t like it sufficiently to say it enough to make it reflexive.

And, as with “World War Bee,” it is a partisan name being pushed by one side of the conflict.

In the war between the two names, “World War Bee” is going to win.  It is just easier, funnier, and with official CCP endorsement, not going to be supplanted any time soon.  Maybe after the war is over and assessed another, more fitting, less propagandist name will settle on the conflict.

But for now I think we in The Imperium are going to have to find what comfort we can in “World War Bee.”  Getting all Cave Johnson about the name isn’t going to do anything.

Fortunately, there is some comfort to be found there.

“World War Bee” is clearly and unequivocally a reference to World War Z, the zombie horror novel that was later made into a film.

The story, to sum up, is about society facing an overwhelming zombie menace and hunkering down in order to fight back in order to save themselves and the civilization they built.

It isn’t tough to assign roles in that scenario.  Who has the overwhelming numbers and who is hunkering down to defend themselves?

World War Bee.

I think we should take it and run with it.  Even now over at Something Awful, the latest recruiting drive is headlined “Eve Online: Goons vs Literally The Entire Galaxy,” which is drawing people back to the game.  Goons under siege works with the right optics.