The Time is Now
There has been a war between Co2/Test and PanFam in the northern regions of New Eden. Co2 have now almost lost all of their territory in Tribute and PanFam have started to encroach on space within the Vale of the Silent.
Co2 have all but abandoned Tribute with only a token number of pilots hanging around in M-OEE8. The M-OEE8 system was, however, to become quite busy this last Sunday (4 December)
The M-OEE8 system is the home of the Co2 Keepstar. A Keepstar is one of the largest player made structures in Eve Online and will set you back several hundred billion ISK to own one. Not only does a Keepstar allow you to dock the largest ships in the game but it also has, at least on paper, some very formidable defensive power. Quite simply a Keepstar is often the centrepiece of any nullsec alliance able to own one.
As you would expect, with such a prize to be had, there are always going to be parties interested in killing one wherever possible.
After some remarkably well-played timer mechanics on the part of Co2, the inevitable came to bear. There was to be no more dodging timers and the Co2 Keepstar was due to come out of its invulnerability window.
Friday, December 2
The Keepstar timer was due to come out of invulnerability at 13:00. The window of opportunity was set for 7 hours. Around 19:00 a handful of NC capitals arrived on the Keepstar grid hugging NC’s own citadel. This was not to develop any further and the PanFam staging systems did not show any signs of forming for an attack on the Keepstar.
PanFam have been busy with continuing to erode IHubs, TCUs and Stations owned by Co2 and Test. This has not always gone PanFam’s way with Co2/Test being able to nab a few decent kills along the way.
PanFam have also been developing their Rorqual fits to actually mine entosis nodes, instead of the more customary asteroid belts that these mining platforms are supposed to handle. An interesting use of game mechanics that you would rightly associate with a group always looking to test boundaries.
So at 20:00 the Keepstar became secure again with the next vulnerability timer due in a further 17 hours.
Saturday, December 3
As with the previous day the Keepstar became vulnerable at 13:00. This time it was for 8 hours and surely PanFam would be more proactive today. This indeed was the case this time around. Shortly before 19:00 PanFam arrived with approximately 700 members.
The forces of PanFam spread out around the Keepstar and notably they were only in sub-caps. PL in Typhoons, NC in Machariels, PH in Hurricanes, MC in a Ferox fleet with Darkness also present in T3 cruisers.
There were just over 1000 pilots in M-OEE8 at peak yet surprisingly only just over 40 of them were Co2.
With PanFam being uncontested, they simply reinforced the Co2 Keepstar without event. The second Keepstar timer would be for 18:42 the following day.
Speculation as to where Co2 and Test had got to was soon in play. The first rumour to surface was that the Co2 leader gigX had gone AFK while gunning the Keepstar. This would have explained why there was no form up from Co2/Test as well as the Keepstar not firing any of its very lethal weapon systems.
After many hours of silence, GigX appeared and made claims that the weapon systems of the Keepstar had been off-lined by a spy. Spying has always had a special place in Eve Online as there are few games that nefarious activities can have such a real and devastating impact. At first, these claims were aimed at PanFam but were soon also pointed towards The Imperium. This version of events also had a certain sort of credibility, especially as Co2 had been seen to have security issues of late with some information leakage.
Evidence was presented to support both cases as you would only expect. There was now the question of, had Co2 just made their defensive capabilities against PanFam more impotent?
Sunday, December 4
Calls had been going out from both Co2 and PanFam for the armour timer of the Keepstar around New Eden. Who would heed the call, and more importantly to which banner would they flock, would be seen in due time.
With the Keepstar timer due out at 18:42 M-OEE8 had already seen a marked increase in its local pilot count. With this increase in pilots, there was, of course, an increase in TiDi. TiDi is the mechanism used by CCP to slow game play to ensure as far as possible that all pilot commands are completed successfully. The interesting thing to note here is that the Keepstar repair cycle would not be affected by TiDi, which some regard as a failing at best or an exploit at worst.
The race was on for PanFam to get into position around the Keepstar in order to apply the necessary damage to pause the repair cycle. Once the repair cycle was paused, the next phase of damage could be applied.
With so many pilots clamouring to enter M-OEE8, the game servers were understandably being pushed to their limits. Over 4400 players were seen in this single system alone. A truly massive presence only comparable to a few events seen before.
Despite the increase in pilots in system, PanFam had not yet been able to apply the damage required to pause the repair cycle. The minutes continued to count down from the initial 15-minute timer. With 4 minutes remaining on the repair cycle the timer was finally paused. PanFam would now need to ensure that enough damage was applied to the Keepstar to prevent the repair mode from starting back up again. All the time they would need to ensure that they also had control of the immediate battlefield.
Arguably Co2 and friends were facing 2 to 1 odds, with the knowledge that there were also considerable additional forces available to PanFam, in the form of capital ships.
The game servers were continuing to struggle. Especially now that all the damage was being calculated and catering for all the additional elements such as drones, missiles and bombs that are created during battle. A mass disconnect was seen at around 19:30 with many hundreds of pilots simply being dropped from the server. This led to many rushing to get back online to see if they had died or whether they had the chance to catch back up with their respective fleet.
With more and more ships being killed and pilots leaving the system to simply go to bed the game servers settled somewhat. Newer players that had not witnessed such a large battle before also quietened and worried less about modules not cycling properly. While more veteran players recited stories of old in between target broadcasts.
To list all the separate engagements between all the present parties would be impossible. There were some remarkably good elements of game play executed during the fight. A PH Hurricane fleet was all but wiped out by a bombing run. Darkness decided to drop Dreads. Most importantly the Keepstars’ weapon systems were firing, which means that the reports of them being off-lined by a spy was a lie.
By 21:30 it was evident that there was little that could be done to counter PanFam. With very little of the health offered by the armour of the Keepstar left Co2 et al were de-aggressing and getting safe. PanFam continued to chip away at the Keepstar until it reached its final timer.
The final bill of the battle was well in excess of 200 billion for all present. This is expected to always be increased by losses in surrounding systems, as well as those unfortunate to survive the battle only to be killed on the way back home. Ultimately Co2 had lost the strategic objective and PanFam is now well poised to deliver the final blow to Co2’s jewel in the crown.
The Stage is Set
With the final timer for the Co2 Keepstar set for Saturday, 10 December 2016, at 18:43 there is likely to be a planning phase on both sides. What each side in this conflict will ultimately do is yet to be seen. Will even more favours be called in? Was the pretense of the Keepstar weapons being off-lined an opportunity missed? Given the recent decline in Co2 membership will they even be able to form a meaningful last stand? You could not even discount the chance of a capital battle.
A week is a long time in politics and this is also true within Eve Online. So it would not be impossible for further agreements to be made between the warring parties.
There is no doubt that something will happen; so get involved and make your own history. It should also be noted that The Imperium is holding their alliance tournament at that time. So if TiDi is getting to you and you want to watch some action then be sure to tune in to The Imperium’s Twitch channel.
A Final Thought
At this time there has not been a good name to stand out for this war. So here are a few suggestions for this and possibly future wars. Let us know which ones you like.
The “Valued Allies” War
World War Co2
The “We told you so” War
The Backstabber’s Brawl
Care4War should be reserved for the Lenny trade network scheme.
Please feel free to add your own suggestions and you may be lucky enough to have your idea stolen.