Art by Redline XIII
World War Bee continues, with fighting increasing greatly in the new year period. The record breaking landmark defense of M2 has thrown PAPI reeling into chaos of late. This situation is something that the Imperium has capitalized upon.
There has already been a great deal spoken about the use of iHubs and the importance they play. An iHub is a structure that is placed into space that allows certain system-wide upgrades and features. One of these mechanics is a system-wide cyno jammer. This prevents your enemy from being able to jump in capital class ships into a system where you control the iHub and cyno jammer. An iHub must be controlled for 35 consecutive days in order to be able to place the cyno jammer. So far in Delve, PAPI has been reticent to invade a system without having iHub control. In the first battle of M2, for example, which was almost dead even, they had such iHub control and therefore placed a cyno jammer.
This tactic of waiting 35 days has been a mainstay of the PAPI invasion forces. It is the method by which they had hoped to always encounter the Imperium capital forces on more favorable terms. They do not want to face Imperium forces, dug in and tethered, with equal numbers or without iHub control.
The Imperium Counter-Attacks
Since the catastrophic error by PAPI, of not logging back on after downtime for the amor timer of the Keepstar in the system of M2-X, the Imperium has been active. With a substantial amount of PAPI forces “pre-staged” (read that as “trapped and unable to log in”), PAPI have been less inclined to use their capital forces. This has allowed the Imperium to make progress in resetting the 35 day timers that PAPI are so heavily reliant on.
Midweek saw PAPI member TAPI watch an entire constellation of iHub timers reset by the Imperium. The constellation of NJU-QV saw fierce fighting for many hours. But ultimately the Imperium overcame the disadvantages and met their objectives.
Having had such success, the Imperium has pressed forward even further. The system of D-W is an important one, but not for strategic reasons in particular. Rather, the Keepstar in D-W was the first home of the Imperium when it took residence in 2016. This means that there are items that belong to the Imperium players. Although these assets are not really at risk, due to the asset safety mechanic, the Imperium still wants to defend the Keepstar in D-W.
At 18:00 on January 7, 2021, the warring factions prepared. There would be a battle for the iHub of D-W, with PAPI defending and the Imperium attacking, to reclaim what was once theirs. Both sides had formed considerable forces, given the time of the week. Notably, the system of D-W is also the “Capital” of PAPI member Pandemic Legion (PL). This status gives a boost to the defensive mechanic that the Imperium would need to overcome.
The battle commenced with both sides turning out considerable fighting forces of subcaps and some capitals. Since PL had a considerable defensive advantage, it was important for the Imperium to make quick progress. You can follow the timeline of the iHuB defence here. Despite the advantage PL had, the Imperium made sufficient progress that even once the PL hacks had completed they only managed to regain 53% control. This brief rally by PL was soon obliterated as the Imperium completed the rest of the nodes required to destroy the existing iHub and reset the 35 day timer.
The PAPI War Plan May Need Another Revision
Much has been said by the PAPI leadership regarding the FC team of the Imperium, even claiming that FCs or even entire alliances were looking for the door out of Delve. But we see that the battle report tells the non-spinnable story. The Imperium, numbering 1,485 pilots, took on PAPI with 1,795 pilots, and still the Imperium won the ISK war and reset the timer.
Note that the Initiative fielded 240 pilots, whereas not long ago Progodlegend claimed they, too, were looking for a way out of Delve. This again brings into question the veracity of what PAPI leadership is saying. Does it even matter anymore to them to tell the truth? The only door Imperium pilots seem to be looking for leads to fights of this kind. If the Imperium can win the strategic objective while outnumbered, and also win the ISK war, then what does this say about PAPI?
Possibly the most shocking aspect of this battle is that, yet again, we see the long-held belief of “N+1 wins everything” being shot down. With the timers reset for so many iHubs, and further changes from CCP due, you have to wonder what plans PAPI members have for completing this war. So far, PAPI have stated that they have plans and phases for every circumstance. One can only wonder what the next phase of the PAPI plan of extermination holds for the Imperium.