A Bigger Boat

David Matterall 2018-01-21

One of my favorite moments in film is the famous jump-scare in “Jaws:” Brodi chums the waters to attract the eponymous man-eating shark, but when the beast peeps its head out the water, the tables are turned – the hunter becomes the hunted. Stunned, Brodi backs up speechless and tells the captain “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” That’s what it felt like when the Imperium showed up to 9-4 a few days ago with more supers and titans than all of the north combined.

Months ago, the Imperium deployed a fleet of dreadnoughts to attack the northern regions of Northern Coalition (Vale) and Pandemic Legion (Tribute). The Hakonen campaign’s public goals were to make NCPL choose between helping GoTG with TEST, or keeping the Initiative’s moons in Syndicate.

The secret aim for most of the Imperium’s campaigns is to see what works. Fighting under the supercapital umbrella of NC and PL (the range in which supercapital ships can be used to strike) is a limiting scenario. The Imperium learned the cheap alternative to Macharials, Typhoons, are not as useful on fleets as they are on structures. The missile-based ships work better on stationary objects. The Imperium also tried long-range dreadnoughts and carriers.

The Imperium fleets were repeatedly destroyed as they tried to fortify forward positions, and decided better of it. They returned to Delve, leaving behind the only structure they could anchor – an Azbel shipyard to produce dreadnoughts for the campaign.

NCPL, with the added support of Mercenary Coalition (MC) and GotG (led by Darkness.), form a massive supercapital umbrella that can be relied upon to out-escalate invaders. NC. titan counts rival most other coalitions, but it is hard to prove since supercapital numbers are closely guarded secrets.

Fountain Sold to Imperium

Fountain is an awkward region, especially for capital ships. You can’t jump between KVN-36 to C-N40D in caps. This leaves only two heavily patrolled routes through, but if they are allowed to pass, supercapital fleets could move from Delve to Cloud Ring in 30-60 minutes through 13 gate jumps.

Fountain was mostly owned by a bored ‘The Culture’ alliance (formerly of Black Legion). They decided to sell the region, along with a Keepstar in J5A-IX, to the Imperium for 370 billion ISK. This purchase connected Delve to Cloud Ring.

Rise of AU tz

In December, Imperium’s Reavers (yes, they do exist) set up in ROIR-Y system (NPC Sisters of EVE space) and menaced Horde sov in Pure Blind. Imperium’s AUTZ, now enhanced by the infusion of migrating Chinese players, created a significant force that repeatedly roamed from their base 1DQ1-A, Delve. They targeted another AUTZ alliance, Rebel Alliance of New Eden (RANE), lowered ADMs in the area and attacked a few R64 moon mining operations. Pandemic Horde moved in to support RANE while defending their home in Pure Blind.

Horde set its defensive timers to AUTZ and called in the AUTZ-heavy GoTG Coalition, which had just returned from their campaign against DRF in the east. The fighting intensified, and Horde dropped a Keepstar as its forward operating base in 9-4RP2. From there, GotG and Horde dropped Nyx’s on raiding parties. Northern Coalition (NC) joined in the major fights, although most of NC was deployed in the south.

By early January, the Imperium’s AUTZ players appealed to leadership to allow them to take more expensive ships, based on their successes. The following weeks saw fights grow in size. Ultimately, Horde decided to shift from structure timers from AUTZ to EUTZ. This was a critical decision. It would allow NCPL to help out when they at their strongest, but the Imperium would also be able to bring higher numbers in that timezone – and faster since they can jump through Fountain.

Take Down that Tower!

GSF Skyteam member Asher Elias decides to take out the 9-4 Keepstar. Imperium’s supercapital fleet deploys North, sending NCPL intel buzzing. NC put their Providence campaign on hold and return north to assemble the NC “Hammer” (super capital fleet). Along with GotG, Horde, and PL, forming the Northern Forces.

The 9-4RP2 Keepstar was attacked Monday, January 15, setting up a massive fight 24 hours later. These are approximate numbers:

 

Imperium

2,400 Imperium total pilots

–  240-250 Titans (mixed shields and armor)

–  340 supers

 

Northern Forces

3,000 Northern Forces total pilots

–  230 titans

–  280 supers

 

In a fight like this, the supers and titans are staged within jump range, where they wait until needed.

The Imperium jumped in armor supers and a fleet of carriers. NC jumped in three NC suicide titans that tried to Boson-doomsday the balled-up carrier fleet, but the titans jumped in too close and only grazed the carriers. Two of the three titans were destroyed quickly, but one escaped. The Imperium’s decision to switch fire to the titans allowed the Keepstar to repair its’ shield and become safe.

Mission accomplished. The Northern Forces stood down.

The Imperium stayed and reinforced the Keepstar again, setting up another armor timer the following day. That time the North stayed home, allowing the Imperium to reinforce the Keepstar into a final structure timer. That time is up on Tuesday.

Both sides have vowed to bring their armadas again, and the expected fight could be cataclysmic (especially for the CCP servers). Thousands of pilots and hundreds of supercapital ships.

What’s Next: Cataclysmic Doomsday Brawl

Tuesday’s fight might be the largest capital fight that EVE has ever seen, bar none. Bigger than B-R, bigger than Casino War. Both sides are determined to achieve their objective, against their traditional enemies, using all their strength.

From my perspective, seeing the Imperium bring 15 more titans and 60 more supers than all of North was a shocking moment. It was not only a surprise to see them move north so fast, but at a scale more substantial than the whole north combined that day. We knew there was a beast coming; we didn’t realize it was that big. The production capability of the Delve has finally shown itself in military form. The question is, does it have teeth? If it does we northerners are going to need a bigger boat.

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Comments

  • Rolfski

    Bringing the big guns is one thing, knowing how to use them is an entirely different thing altogether. NCPL have an experience advantage in that regard.

    January 22, 2018 at 12:15 am
    • DeathandTaxes1 Rolfski

      I refer you to the B-R fight to utterly dumpster this statement. The only time NCPL fought a supercapital fight on even terms with CFC/Imperium they got crushed. Epically. I have 16 titans on my killboard to prove it.

      January 22, 2018 at 12:56 am
      • Rolfski DeathandTaxes1

        Since WWB, goons added shitloads of new super pilots to their ranks with relatively little experience in flying them. That fact that its supercapital fleet was rarely really seriously committed since then doesn’t help either. I call that an experience advantage to NCPL.

        January 22, 2018 at 1:10 am
        • Vertigoe Rolfski

          When tidi hits experience goes out the window. Everything slows down, just as we have gained new pilots and lost old ones so has ncpl. Not everyone who played the game then play it now. Advantage to the guy who is swinging the biggest hammer and we will find that out on Tuesday.

          Great article too by the way Matterall, that scene in Jaws is one of my favorite of all time.

          January 22, 2018 at 1:24 am
          • DeathandTaxes1 Vertigoe

            I agree, in B-R’s tidi shitfest it wasn’t calm FC’s and Experience that won the fight, it was sheer numbers of Titans.

            January 22, 2018 at 1:38 am
          • Rolfski Vertigoe

            It’s with tidi actually that experience really comes into play. Only the most experienced know how to best use tidi to their advantage.

            And sure NCPL got new pilots too. But not in the ridiculous numbers goons have and their standards for accepting them are typically higher as well. Not to mention that these alliances are more PVP focused, which is why they are relatively poor in comparison.

            January 22, 2018 at 2:50 am
        • DeathandTaxes1 Rolfski

          You are either forgetting that the same experience gap existed at the time of B-R or just naively expecting that small scale drops and uncontested dickswinging equate to knowing wtf. As NC.’s 2 titan losses clearly show that is likely not the case

          January 22, 2018 at 1:32 am
          • Rolfski DeathandTaxes1

            B-R is doesn’t compare to this coming battle. Apples and oranges really. Back then the Russians saved goon’s ass who themselves were used to be constantly at war.

            Now probably half of goon’s supercapital fleet are relatively pvp noobs with them and they are supposed to carry the battle. Good luck with that. Back then goons had pvp literally in their very DNA, being in constant conflict. Now they’ve basically become a carebear safeheaven for all of Eve. While that definitely makes you look cool in MER reports, it doesn’t exactly provide much confidence in cutthroat all-in battles.

            So yes, the experience advantage is definitely to NCPL here.

            January 22, 2018 at 2:39 am
        • Deni'z Von Rolfski

          This is not the same as Nigerian or Somalia rebels do bring kids with AK47 while on drugs. Imp Skyteam is know what to do but even if they won’t achive KS kill its still make them better than elite pvp scrubs who only care to kill toothless rorqs and lonely supers at Delve. I bet PLNC got no balls to do counter kill of KS in Fountain.

          January 22, 2018 at 4:26 am
          • Rolfski Deni'z Von

            Believe it or not, setting traps to kill supers takes skill. Goons have learned that the hard way last year.

            January 22, 2018 at 9:04 am
          • Deni'z Von Rolfski

            Believe or not but last year was something different other than trap for supers.

            January 22, 2018 at 11:43 am
          • Rolfski Deni'z Von

            You should really do a search on the articles here. There’s at least one where goons where brilliantly baited and lost multiple titans in a single go. There’s also one where a goons trap of their own went horribly wrong, resulting in a very expensive loss.

            January 22, 2018 at 5:41 pm
          • Vertigoe Rolfski

            Goons have set their own traps, as the loss of 4 titans right under the nose of the super umbrella in Saranen. Goons can lay traps as well as anyone. NCPL dont have some magical trap strategy that other people cannot do.

            January 23, 2018 at 12:24 am
    • On the other hand, Goonswarm can afford to lose supercaps and NCPL can’t. I’m genuinely curious to see whether NCPL will be willing to risk their super fleet against a similar force.

      January 22, 2018 at 6:37 am
      • Rolfski Ganthrithor

        Honestly, I’m more doubtful if goons will end up committing, if it looks that the battle will go South for them, which is really not unthinkable. Since WWB they haven’t really committed their super fleet.

        January 22, 2018 at 9:17 am
        • highonpop Rolfski

          IMP super fleet is already staged in j5a and has been for like a week. Figured that was a known thing. We’ve been telling stupids to stop mining in their rorquals while the cap and super fleet is not home to defend them.

          January 22, 2018 at 4:06 pm
          • Rolfski highonpop

            Recent deployment aside, goons really haven’t done anything with their ridiculous super overpop.

            January 22, 2018 at 5:43 pm
        • Maybe (possibly the most likely outcome) neither side will commit? Who knows! It will be very interesting to see what happens.

          January 23, 2018 at 12:19 am
  • Deni'z Von

    Great article !

    January 22, 2018 at 4:27 am
  • Rammel Kas

    Why?

    January 22, 2018 at 5:26 am
    • Why not?

      January 22, 2018 at 9:33 am
  • Actually I was one of those people. In any strategy game you have to run interference against your rivals to keep them from getting too strong while you build up your own forces and industrial backbone.

    That sais I think recent signals sent by mittani on the Meta Show (and by others), say the Imperium isnt interested in rolling the North. Instead this is just a takedown of a Keepstar that was put too far away from the proper northern super umbrella. Smart move – Convince the enemy what they are fighting for is not important. Its a face saving option that lowers the pressure to win.

    That said the North, if you listen to Killahbee, is 1000% determined to fight and win.

    January 22, 2018 at 3:33 pm
  • highonpop

    Already have a shipped staged in the fortizar ready to go

    January 22, 2018 at 4:04 pm
  • aboveourown

    Reavers are an unsubstantiated myth, great article otherwise though

    January 22, 2018 at 5:46 pm
  • Rolfski

    Still not as bad as goons though, if only for the fact that they’ve been adding by far the most supers to their fleet.

    January 22, 2018 at 5:47 pm