Imperium War Update: Day 11 – Thump and Grind

Alexander "The Mittani" Gianturco 2017-08-15

With the first ten days of the deployment done, it’s time to analyze what’s happening in this campaign so far.

Warning: strategic autism follows.

The Chessboard – Day One:

Before we deployed, our enemies were dispersed across multiple fronts, too far to support each other with capitals due to spaceaids and geography. This rarely happens, and is one of the reasons we seized the opportunity to deploy.

TEST vs Darkness, GOTG, PL and Horde: In the far north, TEST had deployed to the Venal border, staged out of MTO in Perrigen Falls. Darkness deployed a Keepstar in WLF in Venal and restaged their coalition there, and Pandemic Legion and Horde were regularly supporting this fight against TEST.

The Initiative, Snuff and Project Mayhem vs Mercenary Coalition and NorthernCoalitionPeriod: Our Imperium allies, The Initiative, have been deployed to Syndicate to fight for R64s against Mercenary Coalition. Syndicate is a surprisingly rich region with 37 R64 moons, the majority of which were held by Northern Coalitionperiod and the rest by MC. Progress in Syndicate was stymied by Mercenary Coalition batphoning for help from NCdot for major timers. NCdot had withdrawn from their Gehi deployment and were staged in Vey.

Where during the Casino War this group of our enemies were able to put all of their forces in one spot on the map, right across from our staging, the above configuation was vulnerable: Tribute, the home of NCdot, MC, and some PL sov was completely empty. If Tribute was put under pressure by the Imperium, our enemies would have to choose to save Syndicate, Tribute, or the North; something would have to be abandoned.

The Plan:

We planned to head north to Hakonen and directly attack NCdot and MC with capitals and subcapitals, defend Delve with supercapitals and altfleet. Hakonen was selected due to its proximity to Jita and the geographic opportunity of much of NCdot’s Tribute space being within direct Titan drop range.

Before the SOTG, we muddied the waters of our deployment by spewing staging Astrahus in lowsec systems on the borders of many of our foes so there wouldn’t be an obvious target. This worked better than we could have imagined; we have never in our history had a ‘secret’ deployment, especially with the scale of our coalition, and this made for an interesting SOTG situation where we were announcing a war but not stating who we would be attacking or where.

Objectives:

We came to this war with one strategic objective and a gaggle of tactical objectives.

Strategically: Our goal was to force the enemy to redeploy and lose a region, either to TEST or to The Initiative. Of these options, Syndicate is far superior for us, as NCdot and PL are much greater strategic threats to us than Darkness/GOTG, and Syndicate’s R64 wealth directly supports NCdot. Syndicate is closer to our powerbase in Delve, and hostile control of Syndicate ties the strategic interests of NCdot and MC closer with The Culture in northern Fountain.

However, if TEST swept Darkness out of Deklein, it would be very useful to us as well in terms of recovering any lost assets + the sheer humiliation factor of it, and doing so would likely smooth over lingering ill-will between the line members of TEST and the Imperium.

We speak of this in the past tense because Syndicate fell to Imperium forces inside of three days of the campaign’s launch. Note that none of our objectives include us holding hostile sov, which is a novel challenge; this is our first modern ‘fuck fozziesov’ deployment.

Tactically: Our tactical goals are a grab bag of random shit and wacky experiments intended for NCdot and MC.

  • We brought more than 100 citadel hulls to the north to experiment with the roach motel concept, something we wanted to try in the Saranen era of the Casino War but we were too broke to splurge on the idea to see if it had any merit.
  • We want to try a Typhoon doctrine and see if it can counter mass Machs in a cost-effective way.
  • We want to train our new coordinators in a properly high-stakes strategic scenario where they must manage multiple simultaneous fleets
  • We want to train new fleet commanders on the chaos of heavy-tidi fighting and multi-fleet engagements
  • We want to create opportunities for new skirmish commanders (the ‘fleet-curious’?) to step up and run gatecamps and small fleets that have purpose
  • We want to use our carriers and dreads in combat and blow up as much NCdot hardware as possible
  • We want to force NCdot and their allies to choke on Fozziesov and enjoy the same kind of gameplay we enjoyed during the Casino War
  • We want to experiment with anti-fighter tactics, not only with subcaps but training our carrier pilots to win the ‘air war’ of fighter-vs-fighter contests
  • We want to see if we can defend Delve with supercapitals and alts while deploying offensively
  • We wanted to see if we could move everyone and keep our destination hidden, opsec-wise (answer: ahahah yes)
  • We want to blow up as many NCdot and MC citadels as we can
  • We want to use our citadels to make NCdot and MC suffer wherever possible.

Challenges:

This campaign has presented some unique challenges which we planned for; this is stuff that we think is hard but not a dealbreaker, or stuff that we think we have to learn no matter what.

Supers and Altfleet in Delve: The mechanics of Fozziesov require you to live in your space or lose it. We have a tremendous amount of heavy assets and infrastructure in Delve, and we knew that if we took our supercapitals out of Delve, the enemy would simply deploy one of their alliances and sweep the board (much like Initiative did in Syndicate) before we could get back. If we are to have any kind of offensive deployments away from Delve, ever, we must learn to defend Delve with supercapitals and combat alts while we are away from home. The alternative is eternal peace (kill me) or taking adjacent sov we don’t need, overextending, then collapsing (see: the Casino War). Finding a method to go to war while still keeping the homeland secure is critical for us, as peace is hell. We knew going into this that we’d be fighting uphill out of Hakonen into the NCdot supercapital fleet, with only capitals (lots and lots of capitals) and subcapitals to counter.

New Doctrine Testing: We’ve changed doctrines and are using Typhoons for the first time, and the jury is still out. We’re also experimenting with new anti-fighter methods, tactics with our Dreads, and weird shit with citadels both on deployment and on defense. This is an opportunity for us to learn a whole bunch of stuff, but the flipside of learning is failure: one only learns through making mistakes, and we’re gonna do that and keep doing that as we try new shit to get it right.

Sov as a tactic, not an objective: Unlike past deployments where taking and holding sov was the point of the game, we’re explictly not here to take and hold Tribute. At the same time, if the enemy doesn’t defend their sov against us, every lost Hub is weeks of index recovery, paused supercapital builds, and a month of no jumpbridges allowed in that system. So we’re actively encouraging our guys to hack hostile sov with the Fremen system and now our sov bounties, yet this is not going to be as satisfying for our players as in a traditional campaign – we hack to force the enemy to respond and burnout, but we do not always confirm the kill or follow up. That’s worthwhile, but can be frustrating.

New Coord Team System: We have a new coord team system, modelled off Corps Diplomatique, which has recently brought on board a pile of fresh-faced new recruits. We’re training our new coordinators while also finding ways to do this better in the first place, so this adds a layer of either efficiency (when it works well) or confusion (when it doesn’t).

The Chessboard – Now:

Immediately after we began our move North, our enemies were thrown into a state of chaos – much to our surprise, no one knew where we were going – even after an entire day of move ops. The enormity of this is difficult to overstate: this has never happened before. Our organization is massive and all entities have spies in them, so for us to move 2000 capitals over 48 hours and the enemy not knowing who we would be going after until our last jump resulted in what I can only describe as strategic panic from the foe. Darkness redeployed GotG back to Deklein from WLF, then had to re-redeploy days later when it was apparent we were not, in fact, invading Deklein. NCdot moved from Vey to Tribute, Init, Project Mayhem and Snuff killed a pile of NCdot Titans and supercarriers, and shortly thereafter MC left Syndicate, began unanchoring their Syndicate Keepstar, and ceded the region to the Imperium.

Notably, TEST redeployed out of the North entirely, coming to sit beside our Hakonen deployment in Obe. We do not control or speak with TEST regularly, we’re sort of generally shooting the same assholes, so we have no influence over what they do. On the one hand, they have begun doing sov harassment to the PL systems in Vale of the Silent, the region that NC and PL had evicted them from. On the other hand, now there is nothing keeping PL and GotG in the north, so they have redeployed to the classic configuration we saw in the Casino War: all of the bad guys in or near one staging system and all of the good guys in the same place.

Meanwhile, Shadow Cartel jumped in on the NC/PL side and C02 decided to invade FCON.

In sum, over the course of about 96 hours, both the northern front of TEST vs PL/GOTG and the southern front of Initiative/Snuff vs NCdot/MC collapsed, making Tribute vs Hakonen/Obe the only focus of a single-front war instead of a three-front multi-regional conflict.

So let’s go through what’s been good, what’s been weird, and what’s been bad thus far in this campaign.

Good:

  • We won the strategic objective instantly, taking winning too fast to a new and somewhat unsatisfying level. The Imperium has Syndicate, 37+ R64s from that region and surrounding randoms, and MC has unanchored their FD- Keepstar and fled to Tribute. Init are goddamned heroes for grinding so many towers so rapidly, we pretty much blinked and this whole theatre was swept. This presents a propaganda challenge for us, because our big reason for deploying was sorted out and done while we were still hanging posters on the walls in Hakonen.
  • Dead NCdot Fortizars in Frarie and Oulley
  • Dead NCdot Titans
  • We’ve onlined Roach Motel Astrahus through Tribute and continue to do so each day during the Fortizar ops in Hakonen, though we’ve yet to get a chance to test the value of this tactic so we’re not sure if this is a Good Thing ™ or a ‘well, whatever’ thing
  • We’ve had great success with our Fremen attacking hostile sov and creating initial timers + snapping ihubs, despite the frustration of a ‘non-conquest’ sov war. We’ve implemented a new bounty program to reward these heroes, too.
  • We seem to be perhaps slightly burying the hatchet, maybe, with TEST?

Weird:

  • Winning too fast is weird. The killboards do not lie; you cannot argue that losing 37+ R64s isn’t a huge blow to NCdot unless you have your head up your ass. The enemy redeployed, Syndicate was left undefended, Initiative gobbled it up, +1 region. I stated as our goal in the SOTG that if we fought hard for a month we’d hope to win, as the big victory, either the Venal/Deklein front collapsing or the Syndicate front collapsing, and here we are.
  • TEST moved to Obe. That’s a thing. As mentioned above, it’s good that they’re hitting PL and Vale sov, but it’s a challenge in that it allows the enemy to blob up entirely against both us and TEST in Tribute.
  • The hidden deployment itself was strange; because we didn’t have leaks, I stripped all references to who we were attacking (NCdot, MC) from the SOTG. This has meant that even though NCdot is sustaining the brunt of the losses and sov assaults of our campaign, there seems to be a competition between Panfam and Darkness to claim that this war is really about them and that they are, of course, winning fantastically, while NCdot and MC are rather sensibly keeping extremely quiet about their losses.
  • One of the really weird things about sort-of-not-really working with TEST is that for once we’re seeing the r/Eve hivemind somewhat at odds with itself as to if we’re the good guys or the bad guys.

Bad:

  • The entire enemy coalition is able to form in one place and outblob us with supers because they’re not spread out across multiple fronts. There’s no sugarcoating this, the collapse of those other fronts greatly simplifies what had been a beautifully confusing and messy war.
  • We came here to use our dreads and carriers both, yet while we’ve been able to use carriers in almost every major engagement due to citadel mechanics, the enemy moving all their super fleets to one location has limited our intended dread abuse to disconnects and dread bombs. We used long-range and dreadbomb dreads in the Thumper fight last Wednesday in US TZ, but our intended ‘weapons free dread everything woo’ plan doesn’t work given the new geography. We don’t want to schlep these things back to Delve so we’ll keep looking for ways to intelligently use and lose our dreads.
  • We can’t tell yet if our Typhoons are good or bad. This is partially related to the front-collapse above; the doctrine is doing ‘better’ but we’re still losing fights – is that because we’re being outnumbered by 400+ in each fight, because we haven’t figured out how to win the anti-fighter air war, or because the Typhoons themselves suck? We don’t know. We do know that the AU TZ crew shitstomped a Horde Machfleet that outnumbered them earlier today, but that could be an outlier.
  • Jackdaw supply for the entire galaxy cannot meet our demand for them. We’re working on finding new sources and alternatives, but these things only come from w-space PvE and we cannot directly produce them as we can other assets.
  • Confusion: The sheer rapidity of the changes in the war at the outset + a failure on my part to articulate our goals outside of the SOTG/Firesides has left people wondering what’s going on and why we’re doing what we do; I think I’ve been relying too much on Elysium, the Firesides, and chatting during fleets to get the big picture out, instead of writing a gigantic info-briefing like this post – hopefully this helps.

The Future:

We’re going to continue fighting in Hakonen and making NCdot and MC’s lives as miserable as possible while we try out new tactics and doctrines. We’ve declared war on Horde and the AU TZ crew is blowing up their Perimeter Fortizar, we popped two NCdot Fortizars (real, gunned ones, not naked Thumpers) today, we continue to online roach motels in NCdot space and arm them, and while the galactic Jackdaw supply is still fucked sideways, our supply in Hakonen is at last being sorted out – and we’ve got more tricks up our sleeves.

We’re seeing hostile numbers degrade day after day as our style of attrition warfare takes its toll on them, and we hope folks are having fun on this deployment – cabin fever was really getting to a lot of us in Delve, and we’re only getting started~

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Comments

  • Aegrum

    “We do know that the AU TZ crew shitstomped a Horde Machfleet that outnumbered them earlier today, but that could be an outlier.”

    You lost 53 of 75 Tyhpoons. PH & friends lost 35 of 88 Machariels. Yea you were isk positive (Typhoons are cheap), and you got the objective (armor timer), overall a win no doubt. But how can you with a straight face call that a shit stomp? Losing 3/4 of your BS in one high-sec op “win” doesn’t somehow validate that it’s not still a terrible doctrine.

    August 16, 2017 at 12:19 am
    • Still banging that “didn’t win hard enough!” drum?

      August 16, 2017 at 12:43 am
      • Missing the point… just about any other BS doctrine would’ve been more dead PH + friends machs.

        August 16, 2017 at 12:51 am
        • Resnar Aegrum

          that’s the point of this war etc, we try to figure if that is true or not in a real battle not on paper

          August 16, 2017 at 10:38 am
      • Delusionist Wilhelm Arcturus

        He’s also failing to get that these are test runs for Typhoons in order to see whether or not they are good. Even if the op had failed its objective and gotten stomped, the Imperium would have gotten valuable data regarding their viability.

        August 16, 2017 at 2:23 am
        • Glornak Ironspawn Delusionist

          Exactly. PH lost in every way that matters to prototype typhoons of all things. But I suppose it’s just like a PL supporter to deny they lost any fight.

          August 16, 2017 at 7:32 am
    • Vertigoe Aegrum

      Dude give it up. Let me help you out, if it is written by someone in GSF please expect it to be an opinion article and you will be much happier and your blood pressure will go down. This article was pretty fair in it’s analysis and is Mittani’s opinion of how things went.

      August 16, 2017 at 2:35 am
      • Glornak Ironspawn Vertigoe

        What do you mean he can’t be unbiased? I have it on good authority that PL never lies about their fights :p

        August 16, 2017 at 7:36 am
        • Panfam only tell the truth it’s well know, hi IWI

          August 16, 2017 at 10:40 am
    • WMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMW Aegrum

      well if they were isk positive AND got the objective, how can it be a terrible doctrine?

      August 16, 2017 at 3:31 am
    • Rhivre Aegrum

      You are missing that its not _just_ an armor timer.

      How many orders of yours are stuck there?

      August 16, 2017 at 4:20 am
    • Glornak Ironspawn Aegrum

      They took a usually inferior ship and beat a fairly larger fleet of usually superior ships. Maybe a typhoon fleet isn’t the best but apparently it has a fairly big advantage against a Mach fleet.

      Also by your logic if someone lost a dozen Jackdaw killing a ratting super that’d be a terrible fight on the Jackdaws part. Isk war isn’t everything but pretty much everyone doesn’t give a crap about the kill count I can assure you.

      Keep in mind as well that the attackers have to divert DPS to the structure as well. So in the end you have a strategic and isk victory while at a disadvantage, in this case being the attacker while having a smaller fleet of “weaker” ships.

      Your head must be so clouded by goon hate that you can’t see the sizable disadvantage they should have been at. Instead they pulled through and had a complete victory. So yea. PH was shitstomped.

      August 16, 2017 at 7:27 am
    • Frans Bovens Aegrum

      so 53 typhoons down versus 35 machs down ? i ll take that any day. its very exciting too kill machs, any typhoon pilot gladly makes this exchange ratio

      August 16, 2017 at 7:39 am
    • Jamie Grainger Aegrum

      I think you need to reevaluate how that Op played out. This is not a simple math equation, there are many factors that you are leaving out in order to slant the outlook to your favor. I don’t need to mention them, others already have.

      August 16, 2017 at 8:23 pm
  • Alot

    I’m amused by the “secret deployment is weird” part.

    Does Test put any public statements up about the intent of their actions? The Test redeployment seems the most unfortunate blow to the Imperium’s plans. It would be interesting to know what Test viewed as pros and cons to packing up their northern front and camping down closer to the Imperium.

    August 16, 2017 at 8:31 am
    • Rammel Kas Alot

      I think this was already alluded to elsewhere. Their previous staging and route was through a Dronewalkers system and part of the agreement there was not to touch anyone’s SOV. Since PL’s SOV was on the plate so to speak one reason they moved was to not offend their generous hosts. Now they are re-deployed of course all bets are off. But this also made it easier to centralize defense against them to one 5 light year umbrella which covers the other invasion route too.

      Another reason could be quite similar to one the Moneybadgers abused during their push into M-O back in the Casino War. Obe/Hakonen are both 1 jump freighter from Jita 4-4, and the return trip is also easier to manage than deeper null of course. (In the Casino war this also forced fleet movements via Null instead of the Taisy gate.) Imperium pilots gave up quite a few hilarious loss mails trying to run shopping trips on their own before realizing regular services are in place. And of course Miniluv have seen to it that the logistics attrition to Panfam and NC/MC are now quite a lot higher.

      There is also the issue of the PH market hub being taken down for at least a week these past few days. Imperium pilots have noticed their opponents down-sizing into less expensive doctrines. It is of course too early to tell if this is a factor but life north of Taisy may not be all as rosy as some would have you believe.

      August 16, 2017 at 3:34 pm
    • Moomin Amatin Alot

      To be perfectly honest I was confused about the initial Test deployment in the first place. It was only once Piggles (ProGodLegend) and Sapporo Jones, leadership of Test, explained their motivation.

      With the choice of staging for Test being a little errrr unusual and The Imperium moving up there was probably some need for Test to ensure that they would not be placed between a rock and a hard place. Test had sought agreement to stage in the system of WLF but with the move from The Imperium this situation would undoubtedly be diplomatically complicated.

      So with that in mind and re-supply always looking to be an issue the sensible move was for Test to move to a safer staging system. This happened to be the system of Obe which is right next door to The Imperium stager of Hakonen.

      With Test and The Imperium being in such close proximity the PanFam have been desperate to force collusion between the two. In reality though Test do their thing and The Imperium do theirs. Test will un-deploy when they see fit as will The Imperium.

      August 16, 2017 at 3:42 pm
  • NerfBoat

    Is “Casino War” the famous “world war bee” ?

    August 16, 2017 at 1:56 pm
    • Moomin Amatin NerfBoat

      When the conflict broke out back in 2015 it was lacking a name in reality. The Imperium started by calling it “The War of Sovless Aggression”. CCP started off by calling it “The Easter War”. The Money Badger Coalition called it “World War Bee”. Meanwhile Noisy Gamer (I think I got that right) called it “The Casino War”.

      Now I am more than happy to say that “World Ward Bee” was a good and catchy name. But it really lacked the clarity and eloquence put forward by NG with “The Casino War”.

      You see “The Casino War” really does sum up the mechanism that supported the action against The Imperium. So for me, and others it seems, this is the preferred name. If you wish to hold onto your own name then that is fine by me.

      But as for now I am really liking the current conflict as “The Imperium Strikes Back”. Especially so when wrapped as “The Casino Wars: The Imperium Strikes Back”. There is a lot of mileage in this convention. Mileage that will serve The Imperium and New Eden well both now and in the future.

      August 16, 2017 at 3:33 pm
  • Jamie Grainger

    I sat and listened to The Mitanni as he gave his SOTG, and I sat and listened to what we said after (you know, the part that wasn’t recorded). I came up here knowing that we would be outgunned and outnumbered. Anyone with a lick of sense and the ability to comprehend strategy in the slightest knew exactly what I knew before I loaded my first ship into a GSF Capital. We were coming up here to be blooded. Not just our pilots, but our ships and our tactics.
    For all the talk about “spin”, and all the (frankly, laughable) comments and statements our enemies put out about our “goals” here, the cold hard fact is that this “war” is an extended training Op, and a much needed release of some built up aggression and restlessness on the part of our rather large membership.
    Even our enemies know this, but they are unwilling to admit that what amounts to training for us has caused them a hell of alot of trouble.
    It opens up the stage for a very scary question;
    “What will it mean when they feel they are ready to get serious?”

    August 16, 2017 at 8:18 pm
    • This is real talk.

      Extended peace time and the awesome levels of recruitment means people were forgetting why they were playing Eve in the first place so even if this is a training op it’s going to be talked about for the rest of their Eve career and perhaps 30 years from now when we’re all watching our kids play the new mind-link game and how great it was to communicate via spoken words rather than imagined emoji.

      To address the “getting serious” – Eve is too old for people to get serious with. Allies may want a region of their own, but few are big enough to warrant an entire region, let alone defend and actively use it – ADM’s are important if you want to go on holiday somewhere remote.

      August 20, 2017 at 9:06 am
  • waltari

    So if i get this correctly, when you are winning fights its the glorious spirit of goons, when you suck ass, its training op supported by some random bullshit that just came on your mind – like deploying “insert fancy name” citadels for some weird reason nobody understand, not even your own people, suuuuuure. Man you are a genius, try politics career.

    August 16, 2017 at 10:00 pm
    • Moomin Amatin waltari

      You do not get this “correctly”. So go back and read all of the stuff so far and have another try at understanding. Do remember though that there are sides in all of this and that will have an impact on the language used.

      August 17, 2017 at 7:56 am
    • Kyeudo waltari

      He is in politics. He’s a professional space tyrant.

      August 18, 2017 at 4:05 pm