CLOUD RING – Prelle Constellation: Sudden and unexpected fighting has broken out in the historically peaceful region of Cloud Ring. The bloodshed has consumed billions of ISK in resources, and seen control of multiple systems contested. Two systems, MJYW-3 and 9-4RP2, have seen control of their critical Infrastructure Hubs wrested away from Pandemic Horde by the plucky insurgents of the Imperium. Sources close to the conflict speculate that the campaign may be a ‘friendly’ repayment for Horde’s thoughtful Christmas morning ‘Griefmas’ present. One member of Goonswarm’s leadership who wished to remain anonymous said, “They were so nice to give us content during the holidays, we just wanted to let them know we appreciated it.”
The initial contests on the mornings of Jan 7 and 8 saw four systems reinforced: MJYW-3 and O-BDXB on Jan 7, and 9-4RP2 and XZH-4X on Jan 8. Imperium Alphafleets conducted these opening attacks using Rapier hackers, and were countered primarily by Horde Claw fleets and Griffin jammers. These first forays set the stage for the slaughter to come.
I Fell Into A Burning Ring of Fire
The morning of January 9 saw MJY and O-B begin to spawn command nodes, and complications set in almost immediately. Pandemic Horde surprised the Imperium with a cynojammer they hadn’t anticipated. This slowed down the Force Auxiliary hackers, and gave Horde critical minutes. Thomas Lear, in overall strategic command of the attack, made the decision to prioritize MJY, and ordered in subcapital hackers as well. Even so, the contest briefly stood with Horde needing only 5%—one more node—to secure both systems.
Then the counter started to move the other way.
Imperium Claws and Jackdaws began clearing defending entosis ships, as well as fending off small frigate gangs, while the Machariel fleet guarded the fax hackers. At the same time, Pandemic Horde moved a Machariel fleet of their own into 9-4, supported by Tempest Fleet Issues and capital forces from Guardians of the Galaxy. Shortly before downtime, the two battleship forces met.
And it burns, burns, burns
Before downtime, the fighting took place mostly in 9-4, with the Imperium’s greater number of webbing ships and EWAR capabilities combining to give them an early edge in the kill-trading. Horde and GotG capitals warped in from the keepstar to join in on the fight but for fifteen minutes, the Imperium battleships held, long enough for downtime to provide a momentary lull.
After downtime, the fleets regrouped and re-engaged in O-BDXB. The defenders’ capitals were augmented by additional dreadnoughts from Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition. In response, Imperium capitals and super-capitals jumped in as well. Even so, the battle report appears to have been fairly evenly fought. The results show the Imperium won the ISK battle, as well as the objective. They lost 197b ISK worth of ships, compared to the 270b ISK lost by the PanFam forces. Guardians are reported to have had super-capital assets within jump range, but did not bring them in.
Clashes between PH/GOTG and the Imperium seem to be becoming more frequent of late, with regular action in ROIR as well. Look for more stories coming soon as they develop!
We caught up with PlexedLive for his take on the fight on Tuesday morning:
Chat With PlexedLive
PlexedLive: Well, the whole engagement was over the IHUB timer in MJY in the Prelle constellation. We formed our two sub fleets and cap fleets with a bunch of fax hackers with the aim of forcing them to commit to stopping us instead of skirming it. Unfortunately our sub cap hacker numbers were very low so horde managed to get the sov constest 95% in their favour (which is one node hack away from a win) At this point we had a fax hacker on a node in 9-4 (their system with a keepstar). We needed to secure this node so we threw our Mach fleet on top of our fax hacker(edited)
INN: Was this all before, or after downtime?
PlexedLive: This is before.
PlexedLive: At this point horde had a Mach fleet on the Keepstar in system. They waited and managed to sneak on Cyno jammers on in the system. They lit their cyno just before it onlined and dropped all their caps and an additional TFI fleet from GoTG warped everything in on us. This was fight one before DT. We traded fairly well and managed to secure the node and get the fax hacker out giving us some breathing space.We regrouped after DT. This is when the main fight happened. We were killing cyno jammers that they ninja’d on after DT, baiting them to come out of 9-4 into 0-B where it was no longer jammed. They eventually brought their subs into 0-B.
INN: So with the node secured, at this point you guys were just hanging in to try to wipe ’em out?
PlexedLive: The node was secure but that just gave us a 5% boost in the sov contest. Each node gives 5% toward progress and takes 5% off the other. First to 100% wins the sov contest
INN: Ahhhh, gotcha! So there was lots more hacking to be done then.
PlexedLive: This is when Horde made a mistake and warped their Mach fleet at 0 on one of the Ihub nodes in 0-B. This is when I got my Mach fleet at zero on them, bubbling and trapping them, we then dropped caps and the escalations began from there.
INN: Gotcha! Any particular successes or failures that stand out to you from this one?
PlexedLive: There were some really tense moments with sov hacking. We had a claw and jackdaw fleet hunting their hackers. but they managed to get 1 node away from winning 2 or 3 times, and we just managed to capture nodes giving us a little bit of breathing room.
Our main mistake was letting them sneak the cyno jammers in the whole constellation on without us realising. When they commited in 9-4 before down time we intended to drop on them, but were told “nope” by the game when we tried to use our cyno. Good move by them
INN: Fair enough. According to the battle report, the Imperium wound up ISK positive in this fight, would you consider the overall op to have been a success in the end as well?
PlexedLive: Oh yeah, resoundingly so. 80bil positive and we secured our objective
INN: It certainly sounds like it was! Right on! Well, you’ve given me a pretty good rundown of things here, thanks for taking the time!
We’ve reached out to the other Imperium FCs for further information, and will update this report as word comes in from the battlefront.
UPDATE: Once they had a chance to catch a few hours of sleep, we contacted Imperium FCs Asher Elias, Thomas Lear and Dirk Stetille to get some additional info on the recent encounters with GotG and PanFam. Here’s what they had to say:
INN: Hey Asher! I got a good rundown from PlexedLive’s perspective yesterday, but I’d love to hear how that fight went from your perspective. Any really notable successes or failures that stand out?
Asher Elias: one of the things that stands out was even though they weren’t very strongly contesting the entosis timer early it still went to 95% multiple times, we almost lost it while controlling every single node.
INN: Do you think there’s a specific reason for that? Or is it a :ccp: deal?
Asher Elias: the latter. The cap fight was very impressive, especially for the time; autz usually is a bit smaller.
INN: Looking at the timeline on the battle report, it appears that the shit hit the fan pretty quickly.
Asher Elias: I was surprised that an alliance like gotg that has a really strong autz couldn’t form up a bigger super fleet than us. They were playing for time. We wanted to force a decisive engagement. They could have stalled out the fight and won. So we wanted to say “you need to fight or you will lose your subcaps”, and they obliged us with a big brawl which I think is pretty gutsy.
INN: Do you think they might be holding back a little bit to conserve resources?
Asher Elias: No. They mega hyped it from the moment they set the timers. They had gotten used to out-forming us in that TZ and throwing their weight around a bit. I imagine it felt nice
INN: As I was picking through the BR, I noticed a lot of PLA popping up. Could it be that they’re having a positive impact for the Imperium in that TZ?
Asher Elias: did you see how we had like ~50 exeqs? Lots of chinese are alphas, so they can’t fly t2 logi. So that was PLA (also logi doesn’t require a lot of translation).
INN: Gotcha. So their assistance is kinda marginal then, or definitely very useful?
Asher Elias: Quantity has a quality all it’s own. T1 logi isn’t great but when you’re against enemy arty BS with their slow cycle rate they don’t want to spend time shooting t1 logi, and 50 t1 logi still make it pretty hard to kill your own ships if they don’t alpha them.
INN: Gotcha! Strength in numbers is still a thing if the numbers are used in the right place. That’s all for now, thanks very much for the chat!
We caught up with Thomas Lear shortly thereafter:
INN: Alrighty, so I’ve gotten a bit of a rundown from PlexedLive, as well as some tidbits from Asher. I’d like to hear how things have gone from your perspective though. It seems like you guys (and by you guys, I mean we guys) have had your hands quite full with GotG of late!
INN: We’ll start off with the action from Cloud Ring yesterday, any notable engagements, successes or failures on that one?
Thomas Lear: yeah gotg has given us a lot to do recently. Well CR was an interesting brawl because I did not think they would actually bring supers to start off with. So after forming up in delve we had to scramble to get our supers up to CR. Once we moved those supers, I knew we could progress with the timer since their supercapitals now were sorta neutralized with our supers.
Right before down time we saw the hostiles start jumping in to system and it turned out they had anchored jammers. So we had to go in and kick over the system jammers to fight them.
INN: I did hear about the jammers. What do you think could’ve been done to prevent that from having been a problem?
Thomas Lear: well if we were able to scout them a bit earlier it would have helped 😛 but really if we had gone in and killed the jammers before the fight, the hostiles prolly would have never jumped in
Thomas Lear: we got them to commit before downtime with the jammer
Thomas Lear: so after down time after we reffed the jammer, they were already ready to engage
INN: Ahhh, so it was kinda a double edged sword for them, then
Thomas Lear: yea
INN: Asher said he was kinda surprised that GotG weren’t able to better the Imperium’s super numbers in AUTZ. Do you think there’s a reason for it?
Thomas Lear: lack of pre-pings i would guess. Also the fact that i don’t think gotg were expecting us to move a super capital fleet up from delve. If we did not, they would have controlled the timer hands down
INN: I see. Definitely some favourable planning on the Imperium’s part there. The other FC’s I’ve spoken to have said that this was a solid victory for the Imperium, how’d it look from your side of things?
Thomas Lear: Yeah it worked out well for us. I would agree that we had a solid victory. The point that we were able to accomplish the ihub timer and destroy a chunk of the gotg/panfam fleet including a PL dread cache was excellent to see
INN: Of course, you guys didn’t stop there, as there was more sov hacking to do this morning in 9-4. How did that one go?
Thomas Lear: yeah we had the 9-4 sov timer which gotg/panfam sent interceptors too. They were partially successful in killing some of our subcap hackers but not able to win the 9-4 ihub. During the timer, we realized the adm of XZH and how long the nodes would take to hack, so we just punted on that one. Be back for it another time 😛
INN: So overall another success for the Imperium. Is there anything you think that the Imperium can improve upon in these engagements? It sounds like the planning has been pretty on point thus far and that everybody is doing a stand up job, but any hiccups that stand out? It is pretty neat that we can get good numbers all the way out in Cloud Ring
Thomas Lear: no not really any major hiccups. The only thing i want to see is that our numbers continue to stay strong
INN: Do you think there’s enough of a driving motive to continue messing with GotG for the average line member? Obviously continued successes help things, for sure.
Thomas Lear: I hope there is. I hope they enjoy killing gotg caps 😛 yeah it does
INN: Alright! Well, thanks for the chat, I appreciate you taking the time! I think that should be enough questions for now!
And finally, we managed to get hold of Dirk Stetille:
INN: I’ve heard that the sovhack this morning went out without much of a hitch. Sounds like GotG was pretty tired after the fight in ROIR the night before. More than anything, I’m kinda curious about there having been some issues with entosising. Apparently timers have been acting funny?
Dirk Stetille: Erm, yeah, this morning was fairly smooth. I’d agree that GOTG and Horde probably didn’t want to move super fleets etc around twice in one night, so it turns out the ROIR fight was pretty crucial in helping us secure the 9-4R iHub and was great fun, so I can’t knock it.
As for the timers acting funny, the only timer I picked up on specifically was the final iHub entosis in order to bring the unit online at the end of the operation. There were a good two or three minutes where the countdown disappeared and no progress was made to online the unit despite continued entosising.
But it was a grinding fight – the hostile claw fleet response was more mobile than we are, so they managed to pick off a lot of our subcapitals.
INN: Apparently the 9-4 hacks the night before had also encountered some funny issues with timers, so it appears there may be some :ccp: funny business going on. Possibly a result of the latest patch or something. So the GotG claws did cause a little bit of trouble, but nothing that you guys weren’t able to work around. Gotcha.
Dirk Stetille: Pretty much yeah.
INN: Well, that pretty much covers everything that I had to ask at this point, thanks for the chat!
By all accounts, morale is high within the Imperium after several successful bouts with GotG and PanFam. Keep your eyes to Imperium News for more updates, we’ll be on the front lines ready to report on the action as it happens!