‘Twas the night before christmas, and all through NPC Delve
Not a structure was standing, not even one anchored by Gobbins himself
The ceptors were murdered on the gate with care
In hopes that PL would actually be there
The capitals were nestled all snug on their grid
While visions of killmails danced through their head
And jay in his dreadnaught, and I in my avatar
Had just settled down to shoot 36 raitar’
-propaganda hypemaster kcolor
At 07:30 on Christmas day, Pandemic horde (PH) blessed upon Goonswarm (GSF) 36 Raitaru shaped presents. Fleets were spun up and players jumped at the chance to flex their shiny capital ships and titans. Within 30 mins, 36 Raitarus had been destroyed, totalling 21 billion ISK worth of damage. The fleet also saw members of the capital fleet enjoying their first combat with their shiny new capital ships.
I managed to ask a few questions to the people that were present on the operation. First up, is Commander Aze, a Titan Pilot who this morning deployed his Titan for the first time in combat operations.
Falaharn Mistwarden: I hear that you were able to use your titan for the first time in battle today, how did that make you feel?
Commander Aze: It was a great opportunity and a dream 6 years in the making, considering my corporation moved from high sec only 7 months ago having a super capital fleet of our own is really an amazing feat. I am proud of my corporation for its construction of the fleet.
Falaharn Mistwarden: How did you find the operation?
Commander Aze: Highly organized, killing 36 structures in such a short window took some serious planning and coordination.
Falaharn Mistwarden: Interesting, as I was not present, can you give me a brief rundown on what happened?
Commander Aze: So early Christmas Eve Pandemic Horde dropped 36 structures in Delve. Pings started rolling out then to get max numbers for last night’s operation. The operation hit and a solid plan was enacted. One to two dreads per structure were assigned specific targets with cynos ready. The final target alive the main fleet jumped in and destroyed as a celebration. It’s likely Horde had plans to fight, but their fleet was bosoned on a gate trying to enter delve by one of our titan pilots. I’m assuming that that ruined any plans they may have had for contesting the timers. This being said we did lose an anchored bubble on a gate so it wasn’t a flawless operation but did result in achieving all objectives in a timely manner.
Falaharn Mistwarden: Do you believe that PH dropped that many on Christmas Eve in hope that one would survive or they would go unnoticed?
Commander Aze: Likely, I’m assuming that they intended it to be too many to deal with simultaneously and to hope one would make… this being said it’s Delve so they could just stage out of an NPC station.
Falaharn Mistwarden: Ok interesting, I’m sure you and the other super and titan pilots enjoyed flexing your muscles.
Commander Aze: Definitely. It’s great to get the big toys out and play for a bit, I just wish we could get a real fight from the other side.
Falaharn Mistwarden: You said that a PH fleet was DD on a gate? Would you have preferred the fleet to have entered the field? And if so? What impact would you think they would have had?
Commander Aze: Considering the firepower they had vs what our supercapital fleet had unless they brought all their big toys down for the occasion not much. Between HAW Titans and HAW dreads subcaps wouldn’t have lasted very long on grid. I’m not alone in wanting the big fight. Having the biggest super capital and titan fleet in eve honestly makes you want to use it more.
Falaharn Mistwarden: Thank you for your time and insight, is there any other comments that you wish to make?
Commander Aze: Happy holidays to all and remember to vote for CSM when the time comes.
Next up, I was able to interview Fleet Commander Kcolor, who was the main driving force behind the operation, he provides an insight into what goes on in planning an operation like this.
Falaharn Mistwarden: I would first of all like to say well done for your new title of “propaganda hypemaster kcolor”. Would you be able to tell us about the start of the operation, how these targets were identified and from an FC viewpoint, your first actions you carried out?
kcolor: We first noticed the anchors shortly after we killed their 150 man interceptor fleet. Our belief is that it was a distraction, though maybe not with that much loss. We had missed the anchoring timer by about 15 minutes, at which point we tasked recon to enter all the timers into our tracking sheet. From there, we tasked 1 cyno per NPC delve system. We had dreads x up and added them to a spreadsheet by name to make sure each target was covered with enough dps to kill the citadel
We had the cyno character each make their own fleet based on what system they were in. Then I basically did attendance, called out a person’s name, told them what fleet to join. Each person was then assigned a citadel to shoot. They cyno’d into the system, got their target, swapped to the main fleet, then warped to the citadel to engage it as it came out of reinforce.
We specifically assigned dreads and subcaps to systems that were in range of lowsec, just on the off chance hostiles were looking to dread bomb. Titans/supers were placed on nodes that were not reachable from lowsec. Each NPC system had a T2 large bubble anchored on the undock to avoid surprises.
It was 36 Raitarus all exiting reinforce within a 15-minute window, three per NPC delve system (12 NPC systems)
Falaharn Mistwarden: 36 Raitarus is a large number of citadels, with the timings on Christmas Eve and that many, do you think it was PH aim to drop as many and hope they stick on a day most players are distracted by real life?
kcolor: Yea, I think they believed they could get at least 1 if not more online and use them in the future. I don’t believe in coincidence, so when they tell their members to setup alpha accounts in delve and then do this, I’m more willing to believe it was a plan to get something to stage from. I did specifically assign people to PR- first just to make sure those would die if nothing else. It was probably our most vulnerable day of the holidays, and we formed 600 dudes, which was even surprising to me.
Falaharn Mistwarden: I’ve reached out to Gobbins for a comment on his plan, I’ll let you know what he says. Thank you for this insight from an FC POV. Do you have anything you would like to add?
kcolor: Yea, I’d like to thank everyone who helped out with the op. While I may have taken point on it, the tasking was pretty complex and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Tiberizzle and the recon team. It was a unique situation that I’ve never faced before, and I was glad to see the plan work well in the end.
Falaharn Mistwarden: One last point, some line members expressed their delight at a chance to flex the super fleet, do you enjoy moments like this which allows for the deployment of the super fleet?
kcolor: Hell no. Going into an unknown situation with the trust of those pilots and the ships they worked hard to get is not what I enjoy. When it works out it’s great, but it’s the times it doesn’t work out that I’m concerned about. I’m always glad that people get to use those ships, I just don’t want to be the reason why they lose them.
Falaharn Mistwarden: I see, well thanks again for your time Kcolor, it’s clearly a case of who dares wins, and the Imperium came out on top in this recent PH action. We can only guess what PH are planning for the New Year.
Lastly, I was able to interview PH leader Gobbins about PH actions over the last 24 hours.
Falaharn Mistwarden: Can you first start off by telling me what PH aimed to gain from dropping 36 Raitarus into Delve? Did you hope that during the holidays they would go unnoticed and as such, some would have been able to online? Secondly, were there any plans to protect the Raitarus as they came online? A small interceptor fleet is present on the battle report, were there any intentions to deploy capitals and supers to counter the Imperium?
Gobbins: Is that what goons are claiming
So the way it works is, there’s a Panfam tradition called Griefmas since old times PL would reinforce some’s POS or ihub to come out on Xmas day.
Obviously, the citadel spam mechanics allow this to be taken to the next level Asherino gave us a beautiful gift of raitaru on Thanksgiving so it was a matter of politeness to return the favor.
As for onlining, we didn’t want the citadel timer to be paused by single bombers so we formed a small rebel fleet of X-wings but you gotta be out your mind if you believe we were gonna engage in a supercap fight vs goons on Xmas morning.
Also if you don’t mind including some truth in your article,
directorbot: 36 for 36 on raitarus, one more in a few hours. Hostiles were bragging earlier about getting a stager anchored today, guess they were wrong. Don’t worry, there’s always next xmas. Amazing numbers, amazing coordination, amazingjay. ~~~ This was a broadcast from kcolor
this was a ping by kcolor, and an absolute lie, to justify throwing a max max cta on Xmas day when it was obvious no hostiles would show up. Notice how of course he provides no evidence of this ‘bragging’.
Falaharn Mistwarden: Do you think this sort of action, mass dropping of structures, is something that will become more common in eve?
Gobbins: It’s been common for a while. We did it to goons in querious and delve. They did it to us in tribute/vale and later in PB/fade. It is due to the stupid citadel vulnerability mechanics, something CCP has already announced they plan on changing. Currently, if the structure onlines, it becomes invulnerable for 1 to 2 weeks. This gives an untouchable safespot / blops spot
and they are so cheap, each citadel costs less than a mach soo… super cheap to spam
Falaharn Mistwarden: Thank you for taking time to answer my questions today, on Xmas day. Is there anything else you wish to add?
There we have it. On one side, we have Gobbins claiming this act was nothing more than traditional Xmas trolling from PH, But is that something the Imperium can believe or was there more sinister motives behind this move.
From myself and everyone else at Imperium news, I wish you all the happy holidays, whatever you are doing at this time of the year.
Everyone from scouts, recon to support and the capital ships themselves played their part in last 24 hours. Strong leadership and determined line members help shape the course of events. Everyone can have an impact.