Tag Archives: World War Bee

The 49-U6U Fight Foreshadows Battles to Come

A large battle went down last night in 49-U6U, with over 3,000 pilots in system and a trillion ISK in losses.

Right there in Querious

It was a fight over an armor timer on an Imperium Fortizar, one of the structures we still have in that system in Querious.  I joined up with Lazarus Telraven’s Rokh fleet to go out and help defend the timer.

Rokhs on the move

The invaders had been sending out pings to rally the troops for this fight, no doubt feeling a bit stung when, last Friday, they declined to contest the armor timer on this very same structure even though they outnumbered us.  Their advantage then was insufficient.

Last night they got the numbers, outgunning us on the field by about a 2 to 1 margin.

The fight started when the timer finished its count down.  We had subcap fleets on the Fortizar with fax support for reps.  They had subcaps on hand as well, but started dropping dreadnoughts near us almost right away, the first group landing pretty much on top of the Fort.

On the Fortizar

The Rokh fleet started shooting a TEST nightmare fleet and managed some kills but, as the fight escalated and people kept piling in, the server began to stagger under the weight of commands.  And a struggling server can be a capricious factor.  Back at the KVN-36 fight, the node went down and won us the timer.  This time around the node stayed up, but balked at our super carriers jumping in, with a bunch failing to jump and those that made it getting disconnected.

That stopped the battle escalation in its tracks.  Titans were not deployed and the supers started getting pulled back.  The fight devolved to an attempt to kill as many attacking dreadnoughts as possible.  We were told to stop fighting, tether up, and to get to our Keepstar in system to grab an interdictor to hold down enemy dreads.

That was easier said that done.  I sat for about 20 minutes trying to get my drones taken care of… somebody’s smart bomb managed that for me in the end… my guns to cycle down and for tethering to finally grab me.  And it was a near run thing too.  As I was watching the aggression timer count down the last 20 seconds… at 10% speed due to tidi… a hostile Munnin fleet that was rolling through the scrum decided to target me.  I could see their yellow boxes turn to red as their damage started to land on me.  I overheated my hardeners and hoped for the best.  The timer ended and there was a long wait as my shields dropped below half to almost one quarter before tether hit and I was invulnerable.

I’m going to say that tethering is pretty OP, even when it saves my ship.

Then it was just a matter of getting over to the Keepstar… through a field of warp interdiction bubbles.

Bubble, bubbles everywhere

I spent quite a while trying to motor off in a direction that would get me a clear line of warp to the Keepstar.  I went and did the dishes while that was going on.  When I was back it seemed like every time I seemed to be clear, the server would decide that a Sabre had launched its bubble before I had initiated warp and I would be back to trying to get clear again.

Meanwhile more and more Sabres were being bridged in as bubbles when up all over to hold down hostile dreads.

Bubbles all over the place

Eventually I managed to warp off and made it to the Keepstar, but by then it was getting late for me on a work night.  The battle seemed to have reached its crescendo and was now wandering slowly to its conclusion.  I decided to go to bed.

The Imperium lost, undoubtedly and without question.

We lost the objective.  For all of our dread killing the enemy was able to keep applying damage to the Fortizar and it is now set for its final timer this weekend.

We also lost the ISK war by a two to one margin, with the battle report showing us having lost over 756 billion ISK in ships while the attackers lost shy of 380 billion ISK.

Battle Report Header

Two thirds of our ISK loss can be chalked up to the 16 super carriers that we blown up after  jumping in, a tally that includes a Vendetta faction super carrier.  That Vendetta was 19% of our ISK loss in a single ship.  Luckily the two other Vendettas that jumped in got away, or the count would have been much higher.  But that is the risk you take when you allow your pilots to bring their expensive toys to the fight.  The 300+ interdictors we sacrificed to hold down enemy dreads… we might have gone a bit overboard on that… added another 25 billion to the total.

The bulk of the enemy losses came from the 90 dreadnoughts that we managed to kill on the Fortizar, close to a quarter of the 375 they dropped into the battle.

And yet, even having suffered an undeniable defeat, things are not downcast on our side of the war.

Yes, people are pissed about how the servers decided to roll this time.  The first post up about the battle was over at INN complaining about that.  However, somebody is always pissed at the servers when tidi goes beyond 10% and things just stop working.  Generally both sides are, as it leads to missed opportunities.

But there is also the knowledge that this fight is a sign of how hard the invaders are going to have to work to defeat us.  This fight wasn’t even in Delve.  This fight wasn’t even on a Keepstar.  This fight didn’t even escalate to titans.  This fight wasn’t even all that consequential.  There is another timer to go.

But this fight was just a taste of what is to come.  This was the first trillion ISK battle in what may end up being a series of them.  The question is who is going to get sick of this sort of thing first?

In the slow motion scrum of battle

Since Vily has declared this to be a war of extermination, I am guessing we’re good doing this at least a hundred more times.  What other choice do we have?

Of course, that idea must weigh on him as well.  If you look at who showed up to the fight you will see that, once again, PandaFam was there doing the heavy lifting, as they have throughout the war.  If they get tired of this and go back home… which is what they did during the Fountain War, abandoning TEST to their fate… the invasion will be over.

That isn’t going to happen any time soon, but neither is the conquest of Delve.  We’ll have to wait to see who can last the longest.

Other Coverage:

Eleven Weeks of World War Bee

When we started this war, we knew that we were fighting this to the end,” Vily told Polygon. “For us, this is a war of extermination. This is a war to the death. We are aiming for the removal of Mittani and The Imperium from Eve Online. […] We are here to purge them.

-Vily, in an interview with Polygon about the war

When, further on down the road, somebody asks what the goal of the war was, I will reference this quote.  It is one thing to say it in your alliance update, or on /r/eve, or in some other dark corner of the internet, but when he has given it to the mainstream gaming press, that is now the benchmark by which he will be measured.

Vily is allegedly aggrieved because he was “fired” by the Imperium, something he explains in that article.  However, people who were around at the time remember him leaving amicably.  And the Imperium has, up through the last CSM election, put Vily on their ballot because he was viewed as somebody they could work with.  Also, there is that long non-invasion pact we had with Legacy when PanFam was their enemy.  Not behavior consistent with the Vily narrative.

Anyway, he and Progodlegend continued to push a narrative that Goons are bad for the game,  forming a huge blue doughnut against us while repeatedly using a scene from 300 where the Spartans claim “warrior” as their profession as part of his narrative.

Somehow the Imperium are the Persians in this scenario, the farmers and other non-combat types who are… completely outnumbered by an overwhelming force attacking their territory?  That doesn’t sound right.

And it is especially suspect when you look at the MER and see who is farming.  But I’m just a brainwashed Imperium line member (per Vily), so maybe I’ve mislearned that historical metaphor.

On the bright site, TEST has changed its tune on operational tempo.  February is no longer the target date for VD Day (victory in Delve).  They have decided they will only need until the end of October, though that might only be the 1DQ1-A victory date.  It only took until week eleven to declare that the invasion has begun.   We will see if they actually attack in Delve some time soon.

The Northern Front

There isn’t a “Northern Front” to speak of now.  All but four of the invader’s ihubs have been removed by The Initiative as of this writing.  They even got the staging Fortizar.  Anything left behind will end up in Hophib via asset safety.  The Initiative even visited there.  Basically, the attackers are gone, we aren’t doing much there other than clearing out the remains, and nobody lives there for now.

The Southern Front

Querious is now where the action is.  Last week I speculated about whether the invaders might be making for NPC Delve given their run of attacks on the northern systems that lead there.

However, their eyes were apparently focused on another target, the 49-U6U system.

They first dropped a Keepstar in 1M4-FK, which seemed a little short of where they might want to be for NPC Delve, though it was a single jump from their staging in Khanid low sec.

Then they put up a Keepstar in P-ZMZV, which definitely ruled out NPC Delve as the immediate goal.  Instead they were using that as a staging to take the ihub in 49-U6U, an operation where they got out 3,000 pilots for node contest.  That was more than enough to take the ihub.

Querious – Sep 20, 2020 – Invasion route and ihub status

The system is important to them because it is on the direct route from Catch to Querious.  Those who have been following along at home might remember that PandaFam and Legacy concentrated all of their supers and titans in two Keepstars, laid down expressly to dock them, early in the war.  That seemed like it might be their invasion route.

Where they started out and the current focus

And then, of course, those ships sat there and did nothing while KarmaFleet camped the gate in 49-U6U with a cruiser gang.

Later the invaders laid down a chain of 13 Keepstars to move the supers and titans all the way around to Fountain to bring overwhelming force to bear on the Imperium Keepstars in Fountain.

Once done there, they moved to Khanid low sec to focus on Querious.  Now their attention has finally turned to 49-U6U.  It seems like they could have force the gate a while back, but maybe they don’t have the thousand titans about which Progodlegend was boasting a few weeks back.

Now, with the 49-U6U ihub in their hands, we can no longer cyno jam the system if we want, so they used their advantage to… make the slowest move op ever, gating one dreadnought at a time through the gate into Querious to jump them to their new staging in P-ZMZV.  They were paranoid enough to be worried about getting caught by Imperium supers and titans that they wouldn’t put more that one dread on grid at a time… covered by three subcap fleets around the gate… but not paranoid enough to just use the chain of Keepstars to jump their caps around into Querious the long way.  It seems odd.

Systems in titan range of P-ZMZV and supply routes

Meanwhile, there is still an Imperium Keepstar and Fortizar in 49-U6U.  They reinforced the Fortizar, but then stood down for the armor timer when they found they did not out number us sufficiently to take the fight.  Who were the Spartans in that scenario?

But they’ll have to fight us on Keepstars and Fortizars in range of our caps at some point.  So far they have only faced subcap resistance, with some dread and carrier support, and had to bring out their own supers to overcome that.  It is going to be fun when we have titans on the structures waiting for them.

My Participation

This week was Slippery Pete week for me, the name referring to a Tengu doctrine fit with the covert and interdiction nullified subsystems.  This allows them to use black ops jump bridges and pass through warp disruption bubbles.  They are slow to align and not at all tanky, but can blap targets out to 200km and warp off before you can get to them.  You don’t hold the grid with them, you warp in on a group attacking a target and savage them from range then warp off, only to return from another direction and pick off more targets.

Petes on the move

I got in a Pete fleet four nights running during the week, and we managed to frustrate hostiles attacking our structures in Querious, saving a Fortizar while bleeding the enemy and making them jump their caps out prematurely, even killing an Apostle, a Thanatos, and a Revelation along the way.

Petes on the Apostle kill

Petes are a lot of fun and inflict a lot of damage for very few losses when used correctly.

I was also on the ops around 49-U6U.  Friday night I was in the wall of battleships there to defend our Fortizar in the system.

Battleships massed

That was the Fortizar timer I mentioned above where were were outnumbered by the attackers declined to take the fight.  So we reinforced the ihub in the system, so now they’ll have to at least form up to defend it because we have a whole SIG dedicated to entosis ready to contest it if they do not.

I was also around for the hostile move op through 49-U6U, though they were so cautious that there was never an opportunity for a fight as they ran their caps through the gate one at a time.

However, later that evening they got careless and Kun’mi and his dread group dropped on a TEST titan, killing it on their Fortizar in 4-07MU.  They responded with a dread fleet smaller than the group that dropped on the titan… I guess all their friends moved already… and a brawl ensued.  I jumped in a Ferox fleet that burned in to support the dreads and got on a few hostile dread kills (and one fax) as we helped clear tackle so our own caps could extract.

A Revelation goes up as we fly past

The battle report shows things fell our way.

Battle Report Header

I ended up getting caught on the gate trying to get out, so lost my Ferox, but it was still a hell of a fight, run and gun and go go go.

So I ended up the week with having been in a few good fights, having gotten on quite a few kills, all for the loss of one Ferox.  My loss total for the war across all accounts is now:

  • Ares interceptor – 9
  • Atron entosis frigate – 5
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Drake entosis battle cruiser – 3
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Malediction interceptor – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Scimitar logi – 1
  • Bifrost entosis command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1

Other Bits

The invaders remain careful… hesitant at times… and no doubt the titan kill I mentioned above is an indication as to why.

Their leadership is telling their members that we’re already dead, that the end is a foregone conclusion, that victory is theirs to take.  It is all the slanted rhetoric of war, and I would expect nothing less.

But, at some point, they are going to have to get on grid with one of our Keepstars within range of our supers and titans, something that has yet to happen, and put that rhetoric to the test.

Maybe.  I guess.

I mean, Dunk Dinkle was on Talking in Stations saying that they don’t want to do that, that they might never do that.  Instead they want to keep laying down a bunch of Keepstars to try and bait us into fighting on their grid.

I remain mystified about this apparent plan to build a Maginot Line of defensive Keepstars in hopes that we’ll attack them.  It worked so well for the French in 1940.  Or maybe the Italians invading Egypt in 1940 is the better metaphor.  I don’t know, and I might fall back into a “that’s not how invasions work” routine if I am not careful.  Though, if they get one close enough to us, I am sure we will attack it.  We have attacked defended Keepstars before, and won.

It the end, it seems pretty silly.   If you’re going to run a war of extermination (see quote at the top of the post), don’t you have to actually go in and get the people you plan to exterminate?  How are they going to makes us leave the game if they don’t have a plan to blow up our stuff?  How do you achieve the declared victory condition with that mindset?

Anyway, the lack of offensive spirit in our foes probably explains why the Sunday PCU counts for the war remain tepid.  You need a big battle to get big numbers.

  • 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

I fear we may have blown the horn of Goondor too soon.  The enemy remains tentative.

Other articles about the war this week:

(I’d link something other than INN, but EN24 just reposts CCP press releases these days and the New Eden Post has an apparent article quota of about 2 per month, and they blew one of them on EVE Echoes so far this month.)

Ten Weeks of World War Bee

Here we are at the ten week mark and the war carries on.

On the Imperium side, the news of the week was probably the sounding of the Horn of Goondor, the email out to all of the lapsed members of the coalition top tell them that was is upon us and now is the time to come back and join the war.  The text of the email was posted over at INN because it isn’t something you keep secret if you want it to work.  I’m just surprised I haven’t seen the Goondor Calling video linked yet… so I guess I’ll link it.

There were a few immediate responses, like Mynnna donating a couple trillion ISK in cash and goods to the cause.  Of course, since the email went far and wide, those attacking us have declared that the Imperium is now desperate, on its last legs, or whatever.  Maybe they’ll attack Delve now.  Because the real risk of sounding the horn is that the attackers will continue to dither and people who came back for a war won’t get one.

Another items that has been discussed as part of the war is the Tranquility Trading Tower, part of the Tranquility Trading Consortium, a joint enterprise involving the Imperium, Legacy, and Pandemic Horde, who all get a cut of the profits, a total said to run north of a trillion ISK each month.

TTC Alliance Info… join their Discord server!

People have been wondering whether that deal will get broken, as both sides staying in business together seems more than a bit hypocritical given some of the rhetoric being tossed about.

However, all sides like ISK and nobody seems to want to interrupt the flow right now.

But some people like ISK more than others.  While the Imperium distributes the proceeds from the TTC agreement across alliances based on the number of members they have, word leaked that when it comes to Legacy coalition TEST keeps all of the proceeds.  When The Mittani brought this up on the Meta Show on Saturday, Vily explained in the chat that this covers the value that the other alliances in the coalition receive for being a member.  So there you have it.  Vily graciously uses the TTC  revenues to pay the membership dues of other members of Legacy coalition, to TEST.  Memes quickly followed.

So much for trivia from the field.

Northern Front

Fountain isn’t much of a front anymore.

With PandaFam moving out of Fountain, The Initiative took it upon themselves to reinforce every ihub in the region, even those in the metaliminal storm systems.  Then they won the timers and even started planting their own ihubs back in the region again.

Fountain ihub owership – Sept 13, 2020

They have also been doing the TCUs as well, so the whole region will soon look like it once did, at least on DOTLAN.

Of course, that isn’t going to replace all the structures that were lost, which by one count, tallied up to:

6 Keepstars
7 Sotiyos
15 Faction Forts
41 Fortizars
32 Tataras
14 Azbels
263 Athanors
18 Astras
41 Raitarus
25 Jump Gates
38 Cyno Beacons
108 TCUs
108 IHUBs

The is a lot of losses.  But INIT has also been out shooting the structures left behind by PandaFam, which have mostly been left to die.  They did make an exception for the Fortizar in I-CUVX, which they rushed back to save.  No doubt they have a lot of stuff still left to be moved there, and having a bunch of stuff go into asset safety would be a bit of a blow.

Southern Front

Having left Fountain, PandaFam has taken up position to begin attacking through Querious.  They now have a staging Fortizar in Kaira, in the Khanid region, to act as their base.

I went over to take a peek

After weeks where Legacy made a big show, holding as many as 56 ihubs at one point, then losing almost all of them, PandaFam’s arrival has given them some backbone and the attackers are actually attacking in Querious again.  As of this writing, the attackers hold 51 of the ihubs in the region, though several are in play right this moment.

Skirmishes over ihubs are happening all over the eastern half of the region, often over systems that have traded hands multiple times at this point.  Both sides have racked up losses and kills over the week, leading Imperium FC John Hartley to post this picture of the expected arc of Jackdaw pricing.

The market looks bullish

PandaFam, however, has been more focused, driving along the series of systems that lead to NPC Delve.

Querious – Sep 13, 2020

NPC Delve, a cluster of 11 systems owned by the Blood Raiders NPC faction, each of which has an NPC station.  NPC Delve is one of the traditional invasion points, as you can dock up in an unassailable NPC station as a base.  The stations can also hold carriers and dreadnoughts and from 1DH-SX capitals are in jump range of most of Delve.  If they can get into that system and setup a Fortizar for tethering, or a Keepstar for docking, supers and titans can range across much of the region as well.

Systems with titan range of 1DH-SX

That still keeps them just out of super and titan range of our main staging in 1DQ1-A and all the Keepstars and Fortizars that I drew circles around last week.  They will have to get a foothold further into the region for that.

Meanwhile, getting a Fortizar or Keepstar set up in 1DH-SX is easier said that done.  Any attempt would no doubt lead to both sides swarming on the system.  And, while NPC Delve is known as an invasion route into the region, it has also been witness to ignominious defeats, with groups being camped into stations by fleets running from downtime to downtime.  I’ve been on some of those ops before.

319 Station, where Nulli Secunda was camped back in 2012

Still, with the likely invasion vector being set, the Imperium spent some time over the weekend consolidating its capital force, which had previously been scattered across four different staging locations.

Everybody landing at the new staging Keepstar

The war now seems to be headed towards a possible clash of titans as both sides get in position.  If the invaders come into NPC Delve a host of our capitals, supers, and titans are in range.

My Participation

I went on a few ops, though not so many as I would have liked.  A lot of the war has been taking place in Euro time, with things tapering off as the day rolls into my own prime time on the US west coast.  Still, I did get one kill mail when we shot yet another POS tower that the hostiles dropped.  This one was in 1DH-SX, which makes sense given the path the war has been taking.

Shooting another POS tower

I was also in a big fight yesterday, in both the Muninn fleet and driving my Apostle in the capital fleet.

My Scimi out in the fight

The caps were there to counter dread the hostiles were threatening to drop on the subcaps.  Along the way my Scimi got primaried off the field, so that is one more loss to add to my war total so far.

  • Ares interceptor – 9
  • Atron entosis frigate – 5
  • Drake entosis battle cruiser – 3
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Malediction interceptor – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 2
  • Scimitar logi – 1
  • Bifrost entosis command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1

Coming Up

I suspect that the fighting will continue to be focused on Querious, with perhaps an attempt to setup a staging point within titan bridge range of NPC Delve.  At least a Fortizar would need to be anchored for that.  One set up in GOP-GE would give the attackers the ability to cover their route into Delve and set them up to project force in order to move into NPC Delve.

How quickly that will come to pass remains to be seen.  PandaFam, deployed far from home, seems to be focused on getting stuff done while TEST and their Legacy allies, who all still live at home… in game at least… seem in less of a hurry.  Vily has been talking about getting to 1DQ1-A by February, which would require keeping the war going for a full seven months.  We will see if things take that long, or if those deployed from the east have the stamina to keep going that long.

Addendum:

Nine Weeks of World War Bee

War never changes, or something like that.  This war is now past the two month mark and a few things have changed.

In Delve, the Imperium anchored two more Keepstars in 1DQ1-A.

Keepstars anchoring behind our staging Keepstar

The number of Upwell structures in our staging system was already to a point where they flooded the overview, but now there are two more Keepstars on grid with our main staging Keepstar.  The grid around that area is… crowded.

1DQ1-A staging Keepstar grid

The red circles are the four Keepstars on grid, while the two yellow circles are Sotiyos.  The blue circles are the array of faction Fortizars taken as part of the peace deal from the war two years back.  I don’t think I circled them all as they are hard to pick out in that screen shot, which is also slightly angled off the up-down axis, so doesn’t line up quite right.  But there are a lot of them.  You can see some of them lined up in this screen shot from above the home Keepstar.

Fortizars to the left, right, and below

This grid will end up being a hell of a fight should it come down to it.

Northern Front

After marshaling their titan and super force and driving it all the way around from Catch into Fountain, the invaders destroyed the final Keepstar in the region, the one in Y-2ANO.

Attacking the Keepstar

A few ops were run to help people get things out of the Keepstar before the final timer.  I managed to get a Ferox and a Megathron safely back to 1DQ1-A.  However, an Ibis I left in there is now in asset safety and will be redeemable in Hophib in a couple weeks.  Hah.

That brought the attacker Keepstar kill count up to six.

Keepstar tally so far

After that, the invaders appeared to be done in Fountain.  A few more smaller structures were destroyed, but they didn’t bother to form up for the final timer they had set on a faction Fortizar in Y-2ANO.

Faction Fortizar glows as the timer runs down

Instead they started move ops to move their forces elsewhere, perhaps to threaten Querious or Period Basis… or who knows, maybe they’ll actually come to Delve?

Not getting a fight on that faction Fortizar, Elo Knight dropped out Ferox covering fleet into their staging at I-CUVX where we mauled a move op and reinforced their staging Fortizar while the hostiles sat and watched, not bothering to form up anything to fight us.

Battle Report Header

Not a war winning fight, but a send off from us.  I did not come back for the armor timer, but it did not go well for us.

Southern Front

Querious saw clashes over structures, including the faction Fortizar in ED-L9T, a location well remembered by many in Reavers as the sight of one of our most epic fights a little over five years back.

Sovereignty in the eastern end of the region remains mostly uncontested as a swathe of systems sit with nobody bothering to drop an ihub.  It just isn’t worth the effort to either side.

Querious ihub map – Sep 6, 2020

Meanwhile, the invaders have made no progress on the western reach of the region, when GSF and The Initiative still hold ihubs and TCUs.

The big action in the south took place in the Paragon Soul region, in G-M4GK, when the Imperium spotted some titans in there and threw down to try and take them out.  Subcaps and capitals were through the gate and into a brawl, with supers and titans formed up and ready to follow them in, all late on a week night in USTZ.

In the brawl in G-M4GK

Things did not go our way, the supers and titans did not gate into the fight.  The dreads and faxes that got on grid ended up taking heavy losses, including a Vehement faction dread.

Doomsdays hitting home

The battle report showed losses at a 3:1 ratio against us.

Battle Report header for the G-M4GK brawl

But it was a moment of very high excitement, on both sides I am sure, as it looked like something might break out and become one of those legendary battles.  Once everybody who could be extracted was out, we escorted the titans home and called it a night.

Seeing our titans and supers safely back

My Participation

I managed to get into the G-M4GK fight, where I lost my Guardian as part of Elo Knight’s Ferox fleet, then joined Dictorian Pilot’s fleet in a Sabre to help camp the G-M4GK in TCAG-3, where we caught quite a few hostiles trying to slip in to catch our caps as they pulled out.

I also went out with an interceptor fleet to witness the death of the Y-2ANO Keepstar… and to whore on the kill mail.  I was a bit bummed that I could not stay on grid to see it explode, but the hostiles were looking for anything to shoot.

My damaged comic fit Ares

I had a snowball launcher and a fireworks launcher, along with a civilian weapon off an Ibis, so you know I was serious.

I managed to get off grid to repair on one of our Fortizars when a hostile Tengu warped in on us at zero.  He was quickly tackled by the the others interceptors sitting with us, who were actual fit with useful things, like webs, scrams, and points.  The Tengu was taken down by the dozen interceptors.

Get the Tengu!

My efforts are visible in that screen shot.  Both fireworks and snowball launcher were in actions… and the gun as well.  I got on the kill mail.  To be fair to the poor Tengu pilot, tidi was pretty bad with over 2,000 people in the system, and he might not have known what hit him until it was too late.  But it was a nice little addition to our day.

So my loss count for the war incremented by one, with the loss of the Guardian.  My total:

  • Ares interceptor – 9
  • Atron entosis frigate – 5
  • Drake entosis battle cruiser – 3
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Malediction interceptor – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 2
  • Bifrost entosis command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1

I have two Guardians on the list as I went down my losses and realized I forgot to add one from early August.

Overall

With the invaders moving their forces elsewhere, it seems like the northern front my be done.  The rumor is that PandaFam is going to install some smaller alliances in the region in order to hold it, which I am sure will end well.  But we will have to wait and see if that comes to pass.

The big question is where will the invaders strike next?  Will they focus their forces and attempt to do to Querious what they just finished doing in Fountain?  Will the stage back in Catch in FAT-6P or use one of their 13 Keepstars deployed for their move op to try to approach from the Khanid region?  Or will they force a move into NPC Delve to hurry things along?

I suppose it depends on who is running the show.  TEST and Legacy have seemed lackadaisical in their approach to the war relative to their PandaFam allies, who have really been putting in most of the work.  But, as was pointed out, Legacy is still at home and can rat and mine and do much of their peacetime stuff, while PandaFam is deployed far from home and no doubt feels some pressure from line members to get stuff done.

The Sunday peak concurrent users has dipped back down a bit, reflecting the reduction in action. (Numbers courtesy of EVE Offline)

  • Day 1, Jul 5 – 38,838
  • Week 1, Jul 12 – 37,034
  • Week 2, Jul 19 – 34,799
  • Week 3, Jul 26 – 34,692
  • Week 4, Aug 2 – 35,583
  • Week 5, Aug 9 – 35,479
  • Week 6, Aug 16 – 34,974
  • Week 7, Aug 23 – 38,299
  • Week 8, Aug 30 – 35,650
  • Week 9, Sep 6  – 35,075

And then there is the Quantum Cores patch, the subject of my post tomorrow, which will change some of the way Upwell structures are handled.  That may have some impact on the war come October.  But we’ll get to that and we see what week ten has for us.

Addendum:

The July MER and The First Month of War War Bee

I was away when the July MER landed, so am a bit behind writing about it, but I did use a bit of data from the report earlier in the week to illustrate the destruction the war is (or is not) causing.

EVE Online nerds harder

This covers the first month of the war, which means there is a month lag from what we see in this data and what is going on right now.  Still, this might indicate some of the impact of the war.

Starting with minerals, which saw a decline in price last month, we see a resumption of the price climb we have been witnessing over the last few months.

July 2020 – Economic Indices

Minerals were up a sharp tick again, pulling up the Primary Producer Price Index with it and flattening the decline of the Secondary Producer Price Index and the overall Consumer Price Index.

Was this war related?  It seems likely.

While I reported on Tuesday that destruction overall in New Eden was down in July, the large null sec factions were also creating war time supply chains to keep the war going, so there was likely a lot of stockpiling in staging bases.  There was a point when there were fewer than two dozen Muninns on the market in Jita, one of the key hulls used by both sides.

As for where mining is going on, high sec still seems to be the prime location:

  1. The Forge 1.56 trillion (High Sec)
  2. Domain – 1.29 trillion (High Sec)
  3. Metropolis – 1.23 trillion (High Sec)
  4. Sinq Laison – 1.22 trillion (High Sec)
  5. Lonetrek – 1.21 trillion (High Sec)
  6. Oasa – 957 billion (PandaFam)
  7. The Citadel – 914 billion (High Sec)
  8. Tash-Murkon – 876 billion (High Sec)
  9. Everyshore – 788 billion (High Sec)
  10. Perrigen Falls – 785 billion (PandaFam)

Eight of the top ten regions is high sec, with the other two regions falling with in the Fraternity areas of PandaFam space in the northeast of null sec.  For the first time in what seems like forever, no Imperium regions made the cut.  But there is a war going on.

The total amount mined was 29 trillion ISK in value, up from 24 trillion ISK in June.  Some of that was no doubt due to demand pushing up the price, but there was probably more mined over all to get that big of a jump.

Then there are NPC bounties, the big ISK faucet in the game.  Those went up a bit, with 57.7 trillion ISK in bounties paid out, up from the 54.2 trillion ISK taken in June.

July 2020 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

As with June, PandaFam still holds the crown for most NPC bounties with the top ten regions looking like this:

  1. Oasa – 6.36 trillion (PandaFam)
  2. Cobalt Edge – 3.87 trillion (PandaFam)
  3. Perrigen Falls – 3.22 trillion (PandaFam)
  4. Branch – 2.66 trillion (PandaFam)
  5. The Kalevala Expanse – 2.31 trillion (PandaFam)
  6. Insmother – 2.04 trillion (Legacy)
  7. Delve – 1.93 trillion (Imperium)
  8. Malpais – 1.90 trillion (PandaFam)
  9. Vale of the Silent – 1.71 trillion (mixed small groups)
  10. Detorid – 1.70 trillion (Legacy)

The six PandaFam regions in the top ten represent more than one third of all NPC bounties claimed in July, so you know who is getting rich while the fighting is going on down in the southwest of null sec.

Finally, I want to look at trade values for regions.  One of the events that occurred during August was the fall of Niarja to the Triglavians, turning that system into a combat free-for-all and cutting the direct shipping route between Amarr in Domain and Jita in The Forge.

Because of this, there were many questions about what impact this cut would have.  Would it help or hurt Amarr?  Would it boost the lesser trade hubs of Hek, Dodixie, and Rens.  Well, maybe we can answer that over the long term, starting with the August MER.  But first we need to take a snapshot of the state of things in July to get the “before” picture.  So here were the top ten regions for trade in July, with their key trade system of affiliation noted:

  1. The Forge – 454 trillion (Jita)
  2. Domain – 36 trillion (Amarr)
  3. Delve – 20 trillion (Imperium)
  4. Sinq Laison – 16 trillion (Dodixie)
  5. Lonetrek – 14 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  6. Metropolis 7.7 trillion (Hek)
  7. Heimatar 7.1 trillion (Rens)
  8. The Kalevala Expanse 6.3 trillion (PandaFam)
  9. Esoteria 5 trillion (Legacy)
  10. Essence 4.8 trillion (Gallente High Sec)

Jita (with the Perimeter trading citadels) naturally stands far ahead of all the rest.  Amarr is comfortably in second, with Delve at about half its value in third place.  After that the value starts to drop off.

Now we will have to see if there are significant changes come the August MER and further on.  Maybe that will tell us if the fall of Niarja had real significance or not.

Anyway, that is my look at the July 2020 MER.  You can find all the data and charts available on the dev blog post if you want to look into it yourself.

Others on the MER:

Eight Weeks of World War Bee and the July MER

As I have mentioned in the last couple of posts, I was out of town for most of last week, so I do not have much in the way of personal observations to add.  Then again, it doesn’t seem like much happened while I was away either.  The weekend PCU capped at 35,650, down some from last week and the big move op.

A picture from the week before just because

If you’re looking for something to read, Asher Elias, founder of Reavers and one of the key Imperium FCs, wrote a long post on Reddit about Goons as the “Good Guys” in null sec and how, in his view, Goons and the coalition have changed over the years.  If you don’t agree with him, I am sure there is something in the comments to your liking.

Northern Front

The invaders spent some time moving their supers and titans from FAT-6P, where they had languished a mere four gates from Imperium space for weeks, all the way around to I-CUVX Fountain in order to assail the two remaining Imperium Keepstars in the region.  Kind of a long way to go, especially since they felt the need to lay down Keepstars for every step of the journey.  But both Keepstars will die to that onslaught without a doubt.  The KVN-36 Keepstar will likely be dead before this post goes live. (There it went.)  The Y-2ANO Keepstar, however, has no timer set currently.  PandaFam also cleaned up a bunch of structures we had left in Fountain.  When will they gate those supers and titans into Delve?

Southern Front

Going through the continuous update thread on our forums, Querious remains a place of skirmishes.  Neither side is keen to drop fresh ihubs in the eastern side of the region, and the western side remains in Imperium hands.  Lots of skirmishes, but nothing that changed the landscape.  Period Basis and Delve remained as they were.

My Participation

I did get into a couple of fleets once I was back on the weekend, so added a few kill mails to my list, but nothing spectacular.  I did not lose any ships either, so my loss total remains as such:

  • Ares interceptor – 9
  • Atron entosis frigate – 5
  • Drake entosis battle cruiser – 3
  • Malediction interceptor – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 2
  • Bifrost entosis command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1

The July Monthly Economic Report

Since I don’t have much else to say about the war, I might as well use this post to look at a bit of the July MER.  I will write a longer post later about it, but I thought the destruction numbers might be interesting.

As a baseline, the top ten regions for player ship and structure losses in June were:

  1. The Forge – 3.06 trillion (High Sec)
  2. Lonetrek – 2.40 trillion (High Sec)
  3. The Citadel – 2.19 trillion (High Sec)
  4. Sinq Laison – 2.17 trillion (High Sec)
  5. Black Rise – 2.15 trillion (Low Sec)
  6. Domain – 2.02 trillion (High Sec)
  7. Delve – 2.02 trillion (Imperium)
  8. Metropolis – 1.60 trillion (High Sec)
  9. Vale of the Silent – 1.15 trillion (mixed small groups)
  10. Fountain – 1.09 trillion (Imperium)

A total of 45.67 trillion ISK was destroyed in June across all regions.

That includes a bit of the pre-war warm up, but the war did not officially kick off until July 5th, so if the war is/was/will be real, we should see a rise in numbers in some regions.  The top ten for July were:

  1. The Forge – 3.60 trillion (High Sec)
  2. Fountain – 2.53 trillion (Imperium)
  3. Lonetrek – 1.89 trillion (High Sec)
  4. Delve – 1.61 trillion (Imperium)
  5. The Citadel – 1.31 trillion (High Sec)
  6. Metropolis – 1.06 trillion (High Sec)
  7. Providence – 1.02 trillion (Provi Bloc falling apart)
  8. Domain – 981 billion (High Sec)
  9. Heimatar – 962 billion (High Sec)
  10. Sinq Laison – 944 billion (High Sec)

The Forge, home to Jita, saw a 500 billion ISK rise in destruction, no doubt some of it due to interdiction efforts by both side.  And Fountain, the main front for the first phase of the war, was a near 2.5x increase in destruction.

However, a lot of regions, including Delve, were down when it came to destruction.  The overall count was 36 trillion ISK, down over 9 trillion ISK from June.  So I figured I would look at the regions where the war should be happening to see if at least destruction is up in those areas.

There are, I think, nine regions where the war is being waged.  Here are the June to July numbers for each:

  • Aridia – 688 billion to 516 billion
  • Catch – 801 billion to 723 billion
  • Delve – 2.02 trillion to 1.61 trillion
  • Esoteria – 717 billion to 1.31 trillion
  • Fountain – 1.09 trillion to 2.53 trillion
  • Paragon Soul – 118 billion to 668 billion
  • Period Basis – 418 billion to 1.01 trillion
  • Querious – 350 billion to 1.19 trillion
  • Stain – 558 billion to 148 billion

Looking at places where destruction was up, it seems like the war in July took place in Esoteria, Fountain, Paragon Soul, Period Basis, and Querious.  I will have to see how that develops when we get the August MER.

Addendum:

Seven Weeks of World War Bee

This past week saw CCP take some official notice of the war.  We didn’t get a dev blog or a news item.  Instead CCP sent out a press email to some gaming sites announcing that $112,000 worth of ships and structures and what not have been destroyed so far in the war which has involved maybe 130,000 players/accounts/capsuleers.  Some examples of sites running with that:

And then there are sites who couldn’t even copy the email successfully, like MMOs.com that attributed that destruction amount to the Triglavian invasion of high sec.  Or maybe they got it right and the others were wrong.  I haven’t actually seen the email that CCP sent out.

I do wonder what the distribution list looked like, as I haven’t seen PC Gamer, where Steven Messner has done a bunch of in-depth coverage of the game over the years, mention this.  The email must not have had enough to build a story of much substance around.

I am disappointed that CCP didn’t publish a Dev Blog or a news item on their site, but you can figure out what it said based on what got repeated over the multiple stories.  I am curious as to how they came up with that 130,000 number.  Hell, I am curious as to how they came up with the $112,000 amount.  Back at the end of week four it was estimated that ten trillion ISK worth of ships, structures, and modules had been blown up, an amount that, with even the most generous PLEX package they sell (who spends $500 on PLEX?), comes up to nearly that $112K figure.  Maybe that count at four weeks was wrong, but that just makes me want to know how CCP counted all the more so.

And then there is the World War Bee site which is trying to log all the losses, and it tallies up to more than that as well.

I am also a bit surprised they went for the ISK to real world dollar measurement, which generally hasn’t been their thing.  But I guess it does get headlines.

We also saw some action in high sec as Legacy Coalition went into Niarja to defend its supply lines from the Triglavian invasion.  The Imperium pushed back and now Niarja is a free fire zone with no CONCORD there.

EDECOM gives up at this point

Haulers will want to bypass that system, which means taking a lot more gates between Caldari and Amarr space.

Northern Front

PandaFam has turned their attention to Imperium structures in the Fountain region.  They had killed a number of smaller structures, but the attention has mostly been on the Keepstars  The successfully reinforced then destroyed the Keepstar in O-PNSN and had the Keepstar in KVN-36 in their sights.  However, a server crash interrupted things during the fight for the armor timer.  The clock reset and they now have to start the process all over again.  That moved the fighting to social media, forums, and Reddit, as people tried to blame one side or the other for the crash.  It is all about the smart bombs people say.

PandaFam is momentarily stalled them on the road to Delve.  But they still have four Keepstars in the bag already.

The Fountain kills

The Keepstars in KVN-36 and Y-2ANO remain standing, waiting to for the coming assault.

Southern Front

It is difficult to sum up what TEST and their Legacy allies have been up to for the last week.  I mean, sure, they showed up at the Keepstar fights in some force and managed not to get bombed off the field, though their leader seemed to have problems fitting the rigs on his ship, as I mentioned in my post about the O-PNSN Keepstar fight.

They were, of course, part of the fight at Niarja, where Brave and TEST both declared they were going to help EDENCOM defend the system.  And Brave actually showed up.  But I mentioned that at the top of the post.

And then there is Queirous, where one can describe efforts as dissolute at best.  In order to prove that nobody really wants to hold that space, a bunch of systems now sit with no ihub installed.  Neither side wants to defend ihubs in eastern Querious, but neither can they abide the other side holding an ihub.

Querious ihub map – Aug 22, 2020

So the Legacy ihub count is down to 18, but it is clear they are not really trying any more, so the count is more an indication of that.

There have been the usual range of skirmishes at the gates between Legacy and the Imperium, but the war is happening in Fountain right now and the south is just a side show at best.

My Participation

I managed to get in on a couple of big ops, including the two Keepstar battles, but otherwise it has been a quiet week for me.  A massive heatwave out here, plus the state catching on fire (smoke from two of those fires are visible from our house), work, and getting ready for our daughter to head off to college has kept me from doing much gaming at all over the last week.  And this week will likely see me even less focused on gaming.

I did manage to lose at least one ship on every fleet I went on however.  My ship loss count for the war so far now stands at:

  • Ares interceptor – 9
  • Atron entosis frigate – 5
  • Drake entosis battle cruiser – 3
  • Malediction interceptor – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 2
  • Bifrost entosis command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1

Overall

As I mentioned at the top of the post, CCP half-halfheartedly tried to drum up some press interest in the war with an email that got a few takers from second tier gaming sites.  I guess our fights are not big enough to be worth a dev blog yet.  But they at least put a little effort into some publicity.

But, after last week, I guess CCP doesn’t want to go bragging about a server crash.

Of course, CCP has been all about EVE Echoes since it launched the week before, putting out some odd adds.  But they are justifiably proud of the millions of players who have signed up for the game.  Now they just have to buy some stuff.

And then there was the fight over Niarja, which pulled null sec into the Triglavian invasion event.  I’m not sure everybody is happy that we showed up.

Anyway, another week of war has gone by and a victory for the attackers, or an accord between the belligerents seems a distant hope.

If the word is right, the invaders are moving their titans and supers from FAT-6P, where they have been sitting since the war, idle behind the 49-U6U4-07MU gate connection, to come around and approach Querious from a low sec direction to get them into the fight.  Apparently we’re too formidable for them to gate through directly into the region, so they have put down a chain of Keepstars to avoid that gate.

Maybe that is what drove the peak concurrent users up to 38,299, up from 34,974 last week.  Still not up to the first week peak of 38,838, but close.

We shall see how the move op turns out and what the invaders plan to do with their 1,000 titans.

Addendum:

The Node Crash at KVN-36

After we lost the Keepstar in O-PNSN on Thursday, eyes turned to the next target, the Keepstar in KVN-36.  The armor timer was set to come out a day later, so both sides were ready to form up to contest that.

Again, the battle was going to overlap a bit with work, so I pre-positioned another ECM burst interceptor so that I could join in when time allowed.  I saw pings and people forming up long before I was able to get in.  But Kun’mi had another little ECM burst fleet going, so once I had the time I logged in and undocked to join in.  I caught a warp into the fray almost immediately, landed in some hostiles, and got tackled.  I set off my ECM burst, but couldn’t get away.  My Ares went boom on the first run.

The hostiles were good enough to pod me though, so I was quickly back in 1DQ1-A where I grabbed my back up ship, a Malediction, and headed back to the fight.  As always, since tidi was slowing the fight down, very little happened before I got back.

I made a perch off the Keepstar and rode the warps as Kun’mi launched us into the hostiles fleets.

Aligning out from a run

The hostiles were running the same basic plan as the day before.  They had an Astrahus on grid with the Keepstar where they had tethered up their carriers.  Those carriers disgorged a mass of fighters to attack the Keepstar.

The hostile Astrahus

Meanwhile, the subcap fleets from both sides set to shooting each other, while we zipped in and out trying to avoid getting tackled.  Being hit with the ECM burst is annoying, I know this from having been on the receiving end a few times, and the enemy put a lot of effort into tackling and blowing us up.  No doubt each kill gave them great joy.  But we were close enough to home that the few of us in the fleet would just re-ship and fly quickly back.

There was also a lot of smart bombing going on.  We had some success the day before the a Praxis fleet set up to smart bomb, and the hostiles picked that up as well, so there were smart bombs going off all over it seemed.

The Praxis fleet from the day before

Both sides seemed to using them with impunity.  You can dig though kills and find ships that have smart bomb damage from both sides.  And, of course, some doctrines, like the Feroxes, are not smart bombing platforms, but carry one fit.  So it was a hazard and I had to warp off to repair a few times after flying into smart bombs.

Things seemed to be going with the attackers.  They had quickly stopped the repair timer and had been steadily whittling away at the armor layer of the Keepstar.  We kept doing our runs and our fleets in general tried to slow things down.

Another run in my Malediction

However, the system seemed more laggy than the day before.  Commands were slow, especially when close in with the Keepstar, even though there were not as many people in system as we had seen in O-PNSN.  But both sides persisted.  It is just something you put up with and power through to win the objective.  Then things got really balky and unresponsive and, suddenly, boom!  We were all kicked out of the game.

Connection dropped at 21:31 EVE time

That happened to coincide with Dave Archer’s Jackdaw fleet getting smart bombed by NCDot, which seemed like it was going to wipe them all out.  Kun’mi happened to be describing this action to us and the likely fate of the Jackdaws, and that was the moment when the server died, and so became part of the lore of the battle.

Of course, we all tried to log back in, but the server wasn’t having us.

Access denied

CCP tweeted out a link to a forum thread about the server going down.  They were aware and working on the situation.  That was at about 21:33, so they jumped on that pretty quickly.  Meanwhile, both sides were anxious about what was going to be the state of affairs when the server came back up.

In the past, servers going down meant tough luck to one side and a saving grace to the other.  I lived through the null sec era of server killing battles.  I remember back in Fountain War at Z9PP-H when CCP remapped the node incorrectly and dumped everybody out, effectively saving the TEST capital fleet.  I have posts about other crashes, like the one at HED-GP and the one at KW-I6T.

But that was all quite a while back.  And the ability of servers to handle such loads have gotten better over time.  The X47 Keepstar battle kept going despite a ton of ECM burst ships and a DDoS attack in progress.  There were about 6,000 ships involved, with fighters flying all over and all the other usual stuff, during the so-called million dollar battle.

There was also a bit of the Imperium institutional paranoia about the situation, a worry that this time, when a crash would benefit Goons, that CCP might try to roll back the clock on the timer rather than let things ride as they had traditionally done.

We had about a half an hour to think about that.  CCP said the server had been stood back up at 21:55, but by the time I got in and made it back on grid with the Keepstar… everybody had been warped off grid… it was 22:01.  And there I saw the Keepstar timer had just a little over two minutes on the clock.

Just about two minutes left

Given that first screen shot at the top of the post, taken at 20:55, showed 13:37 (leet!) left on the timer, it looked like only 12 minuted had counted down during the approximate half hour that the node had kept us out, though the node was down and presumably not advancing the clock for part of that time.  The downtime didn’t save the Keepstar completely, but the time left was so small that it ran down before the attackers could bring firepower to bear on the structure.  Keepstar saved.

Timers reset

You see a repair timer there, but you’ll notice the damage indicators for the armor and shields were set back to their pristine state.  The objective had been won, with some help from CCP.

We drew the card this time

Of course, recriminations were flying long before the servers came back up.  Everybody was looking for somebody to blame.  In the forum thread about the server outage somebody was trying to pin the blame on those Goon ECM burst interceptors, which made me laugh.  If there were even a dozen operating at once I would have been surprised.  We had about eight going at our peak when I was participating, and that isn’t enough to cause much of a problem.  It certainly didn’t break the server during the last fight.

There were also fingers being pointed about who was running their smart bombs, though both sides had them deployed.  Memes were being thrown around and Cryo, the official Imperium propaganda artist these days, even threw together a special piece for the occasion.

The smug is palpable

Meanwhile some people on /r/eve are claiming that the server crash was deliberately caused by “hundreds” of Goon smart bombing ships or ECM bursts or a Goon DDoS attack (evidence?) or anything else that their vivid imaginations could churn up, because Grrr Goons.  Some things never change.

I personally don’t buy any of the finger pointing about the crash being an intended goal.  We had more load on the server in the fight the day before and it made it, though at times things were marginal.  (Note the problem I mentioned with my UI when I returned to the fight.)  Sometimes things just fail.  We should probably be surprised that this doesn’t happen more often given how much load we put on the servers.  And nobody is going to stop using smart bombs, or ECM bursts, or masses of fighters on either side, so it seems like it will happen again during the war.

Anyway, the battle wasn’t over yet.  Everybody was back on grid and there were people to shoot, so things kept exploding for quite some time.  Kun’mi had lost his probes, so we just warped in on wrecks when we could.

Another run into the mix

I did get a couple of bursts off, but eventually got tackled again.  They put everything on me they could.

A range of effects

From left to right I believe I was neuted, painted, nos’d, webbed, scrammed, tracking disrupted, and pointed.  I like the tracking disruptor.  Some zealous pilot in a Cruicifier hit me with one on a few runs. (So did somebody in an Eagle, though why they didn’t just shoot me…)  Pity it doesn’t do anything to an AOE weapon.  It will get you on the kill mail however, and that is the important part for all of us.  I got my ECM burst off before I blew up, and was then able to warp off in my pod before the parade of effects were able to land on me again.

After that I docked up and waited around for people to clear out.  I didn’t pad my kill board as gratuitously as I did the day before, but I got on my share and didn’t even get on any blue kills.  A rare thing with the indiscriminate ECM burst module.

This time around, with no structure loss weighing us down, the battle report fell in our favor.

Battle Report Header

Plus, we won the objective.  PandaFam has to start over again by setting the first timer again, which they did not bother with.  They will likely want to set it to fall in EUTZ where they are stronger.

So it goes.  They still have four Keepstar kills in the bag and two more left to kill in Fountain before the fun starts in Delve when supers and titans will start being part of the mix.  I think they only have a few dozen there to kill.  At a rate of about one or two a week, this could take some time.

Other coverage:

The O-PNSN Keepstar Blows Up

After the rebuff at the Y-2ANO Keepstar last weekend, PandaFam changed their tack and decided to go after the Keepstar in Fountain that was the furthest from Delve.  That was the Keepstar belonging to The Bastion in O-PNSN.

O-PNSN is a good dozen gates from Delve and, perhaps more importantly, to get there the Imperium would have to travel through I-CUVX, PandaFam’s forward staging system.  They would be closer to the target than us and could reinforce multiple gate camps against any fleets attempting to gate their way to the fight.

I had actually flown out to check on the Keepstars the other night and was surprised to find that the final timer was looming already.

Final fight in 21 hours or so

Seeing that the battle would be start towards the latter half of my work day, I flew out in an ECM burst interceptor the night before hoping to be able to join in, or at least peek in on, the battle.

I was in luck.  Kun’mi had an ECM burst interceptor fleet up so I was able to join up with them once they arrived in the system, then watch the count down to the start of the event.

30 seconds left on the clock

The fight itself looked like a return to form.  Again, using fighters elsewhere, as PandaFam did at Y-2ANO, did not turn out well for them, so they once again focused their fighters on attacking the Keepstar.  Their carriers sat on their Fortizar, bubbled up so they wouldn’t warp off in case of a disconnect, and sent the fighters out early so they would arrive in time for the final stage to begin.

The PandaFam Fortizar anchored on grid with the Keepstar

Our subcaps were set to try and extract a heavy price in fighters while their subcaps were out in force to suppress ours.  There were Ravens on the field again to help keep the timer paused, but this time PandaFam was using them and they managed not to get blotted out in a single bomb run.

Meanwhile, we were hanging on tether on the Tatara on grid waiting for Kun’mi to warp us off into the thick of things.  Our job was just to be annoying, to slow the enemy down, and to whore on a bunch of kill mails.

I’ve explained this before, but as a refresher, Kun’mi would probe down a hostile group and fleet warp everybody at them… everybody was all 8-10 of us depending on when in the battle we’re talking.

My Malediction amid some Feroxes

When we land, we immediately start to warp out again, hitting our overheated Burst ECM as we aligned.  The wave from that has a good chance to break the target lock on any ship within 26km, which can be annoying for DPS and deadly if logi loses lock on somebody they are repping.

You get a lot of target breaks when you get right in the thick of a hostile fleet.

A lot of Feroxes were out and about

And everybody you tag counts as though you attacked them, so if they end up getting blown up after your run, you get on the kill mail as a participant.  This can lead to some serious kill board padding.

The odds, however, were very much against us.  It was about four to one against us in the system, so winning the objective really depended on the enemy screwing up.  If they limited the number of mistakes they made, they would kill the Keepstar and win the objective.

There were a few crazy moments.  We did a run on a fleet and got out just before it got bombed and wiped out.  The Bastion had some dreads in the Keepstar that emerged to fight against the odds.

The Revelation explodes, soon they would all be wrecks

And the enemy did not make any critical mistakes.  I mean sure, Progodlegend, one of the TEST leaders, got his Damnation shot out from underneath him and the kill mail showed that he hadn’t bothered to fit the rigs that were in the cargo.  This was made more amusing when he was trying to return in another Damnation, got caught along the way, and was blown up again, and that kill mail showed he had yet again not bothered to fit his rigs.

We kept on doing our runs whenever Kun’mi could find us a target.

In on another fleet… just within range

However, I got distracted at my end for a bit and had to tab out.  I tabbed back to find we had been warped in and I had been tackled.  I set off the ECM burst, hoping to break enough locks to be able to warp off, but I was out of luck.  My Malediction was blown up.  A lot of Jackdaws on that kill mail, a lot of missiles in flight my way.

The battle was still going on and the enemy was kind enough to pod me, so I jumped into an ECM burst Ares and flew on back.  With tidi running strong and restricted to that system, the battle would wait for me.

However, the server itself was clearly having problems.  I had to disconnect coming into the system as I ended up in the eternal warp tunnel.  Once I got logged back in and was in the system, the UI wasn’t working for me.  I wasn’t able to rejoin Kun’mi’s fleet and none of the right click menus were working for me… oh, and my capacitor and all the UI around it was missing.  I could only warp to bookmarks in the bookmarks window I had up, so I ended up tethered on the Tatara again hoping the game would catch up and fix my problems.

But it was not to be.  So I just moved the camera about and watched as the Keepstar slowly headed towards destruction.  Fighting carried on, and I got a nice shot of the arcing votron projector hitting a Ferox fleet.

Zap baby!

I stuck around and watched the final moments and the Keepstar exploding.

Flames erupting from the structure

The fighting carried on for a while, but eventually things started settle down.  I saw almost 3,200 in local at one point, a big fight for a weekday.  By the time it dropped to about half that number the server finally caught up and deigned to draw my UI finally.  I could travel back home now.

The battle report shows things going heavily in favor of the attackers.  Pandemic Horde put more people on the field alone that all of the defenders combined… and they can’t all be spies.

Battle Report Header

We killed a lot of ships… but that Keepstar weighs heavily against us, ringing in at 200 billion ISK.  Without that, not a bad exchange… but without the Keepstar in play nobody would have put up with those losses.

There is some question as to how many fighters we killed.  They don’t always get recorded correctly on zKill and do not get counted at all unless a full squadron gets destroyed.  So if just one fighter gets back, no kill mail.  But, in the end, we lost the objective.  The Keepstar died.

As for my time, zKill put me on 227 kill mails.  That is four and a half pages of kill board padding right there.  Enough to put me in the top ten for KarmaFleet, a totally undeserved position.

Padded kill board

But my kill board also shows how delayed the server was.

Up until I was blown up, all my kills are credited to my Malediction.  After I was blown up and podded, there are a few where there is just a question mark.  You’re not supposed to get credit if you leave the system, but things were out of whack, so I am sure the process leaves some margin of error.

But after a while… and this covers a whole page worth of kill mails… the credit goes to the my Ares.  However, I was unable to join a fleet or warp to anybody to set of the ECM burst, I was just sitting in system.  But as the server caught up, it no doubt had me on the list of parties that had applied some sort of damage or effect, checked if I was still there, then credited whatever ship I happened to be in at the time.  Again, getting kills when you’re in your pod is pretty common.  But I was podded, got a new ship, flew the 15 gates to get back, and then didn’t do anything, yet got the credit for ships I had tagged before I was blown up.

The magic Ares

And that still leaves 30 where the server wasn’t sure what to do with me, so just put a question mark for my ship.  Quirks of the game.  We should probably be happy it works as well as it does.  There were times when we were up close to the Keepstar when commands seemed to take a lot longer to execute than even 10% tidi would explain.

On the Keepstar trying to warp off

So it goes.  The invaders have now killed four of the six Keepstars in Fountain.  The one in KVN-36 is next on their list.  The armor timer comes out a couple hours after this post goes live.  The armor timer is the tough one, the one that will take more time, so it will likely be an even longer fight.  We shall see if the Imperium has any tricks left, or if the attackers do us the favor of making a mistake, when we go to defend it.

Addendum:

The Fall of Niarja and the Shape of High Sec

Surprise!  Niarja became low security space last night!

Things have changed here

I had not been paying much attention to the Triglavian invasion event.  New Eden is a big enough sandbox that I can play in my own area and not care about what was going on in high sec.  Delve is many gates from the nearest high sec system.  Also, the war.

And then Niarja became the next Triglavian target and everybody lost their minds.

Niarja is a 0.5 high sec system known primarily for two things; being a prime spot for suicide gankers and being on the direct trade route when traveling between Caldari and Amarr space in general and the trade hubs of Jita and Amarr specifically.

When the Triglavians take a system, the security status of that system drops by 0.1.  That change would drop Niarja to 0.4, making it low sec and turning it from a place to suicide gank to a place to simply gank people passing through as CONCORD responses would no longer occur.

Meanwhile, the “safe” route from Jita to Amarr would go from 10 gates to 46.  I am not sure how much trade is specifically between those two points and how much of the traffic is from Jita to points beyond Amarr, but either way Niarja looked to become another low sec danger spot on the shortest route between regions.

The forces of chaos, in which I include CCP, seemed quite eager to see Niarja fall.  Others seemed quite angry at the prospect.  At least one group was sending out mail messages in game warning people that they had better not get caught supporting the Triglavians.

Signed, a friend

I am sure that was just some fun role play.

And this was all a high sec affair… until it wasn’t

Early yesterday Legacy Coalition declared that they were going to protect high sec by siding with EDENCOM to make sure the Triglavians didn’t take the system.  Dunk Dinkle of Brave posted a truncated image from what looks to be a Discord message that said:

THE COALITION DIRECTIVE IS TO SECURE NIARJA

Addendum: The Discord message in full:

Brave ping on Niarja

[This message is apparently what set the Imperium in motion, the opportunity to harm the people attacking us.]

At some later point Vily posted elsewhere that the coalition had just decided to fight the Triglavians because the Imperium had sided with them.  World War Bee was coming to high sec.

To my knowledge, up until then, there had been no official effort by the Imperium to influence the events in Niarja either way.  Word later came out that incursion squad had gone there on the down low to push things in favor of the Triglavians.  But once Vily reacted it became an official Imperium operation.  Pings went out to get people to pile on for the Trigs. [TEST never did show up for the event despite Vily’s post.]

Once I saw that was going on, I logged in a high sec alt just to see what I could see.  The gate to Niarja was suitably adorned with the Triglavian logo.

A new sheriff is in town

Inside the system, the battle was tilted towards the Triglavian side.

77% in favor of the Triglavians

Ashterothi, who was providing status updates on Twitter, reported that the Trigs had been as high as 85% at one point, but EDENCOM had slowly worked that down into the 70s.

The fighting is done by blowing up NPCs that spawn at sites in the system.  If you want the Triglavians to win, you go to the EDENCOM sites and shoot the spawns, and if you support EDENCOM you warp to the emerging conduit sites and shoot the Trigs.

Some sites from the probe scanner window

I was not on as an Imperium character so couldn’t join their fleet, but I spotted them and watched them take down a couple of the EDENCOM sites.  (I also saw a Brave group shooting up an EDENCOM site, and I am not sure what was going on there.)

It was already late for me and I wasn’t going to be able to join in so I docked up at one of the Raitarus in the system.  The Triglavians seemed to be edging up every so slightly as time went along, but it was going to take some time.

When I work up this morning however, I logged in to check and found I was in a low sec system.

The Triglavian sky is strange

The Mittani was smugging about having cut the high sec travel route as it apparently impacts Legacy and their own ability to resupply.

Meanwhile, the battle for the system carried on and the Triglavian side hit the final luminality.

EDECOM gives up at this point

Niarja is effectively a null sec or wormhole space system now in terms of security status.  That doesn’t make much difference to haulers, as low sec status was going to keep them away in any case.

In the short term I will be interested to see what this does to trade.  Does making Jita 30+ jumps further away make Amarr more valuable?  Does it grow as a trade hub out of Jita’s shadow?  Or was its proximity to Jita what made it the second trade hub?  Does Jita shrink?  Does this help Hek, Rens, and Dodixie, the lesser trade hubs?  What happens to the market?  What happens to shipping charges?  There is a lot there to unpack.

For the longer term I am back to wondering what CCP’s end game plan is for the Triglavian invasion.  It was a happy fun PvE event for quite a while, but now with more and more high sec systems falling to the Trigs (The Agency says 16 systems are now in final luminality) what is going to happen?  Will the Trigs remain and their systems be changed for good?  Will they reach some accord with the empires and become the fifth Beatle empire?  If there is a fifth empire will Max Singularity and the Sixth Empire demand some high sec space of their own?

CCP has never run an event like this in high sec.  In the past high sec followed the rules of TV sitcoms, where things can go crazy for a bit, but at the end of the episode the status quo must be restored.  It will be interesting to see if they want to return to the way things were or have a new long term state of affairs in mind for high sec space.

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