M2 Hellcamp Enters its Eighth Week

2021-02-22

Art by Major Sniper

On Sunday the Imperium’s hellcamp of M2-XFE entered its eighth week. An entire fleet has stood watch on the M2 Keepstar for an unprecedented amount of time in the history of EVE.

Background

As many EVE players know, this story begins seven weeks ago when the second battle of M2-XFE ended January 3 at the normal daily server downtime. At the moment the servers went down – as two massive fleets stood frozen in combat (Imperium defenders; PAPI attackers) – every pilot on the grid was automatically logged out and their ships disappeared from space, each one waiting to reappear when its pilot logged back in after the server restart.

But the attacking pilots never logged back in.

The two massive fleets trading volleys during one of the battles of M2-XFE. The attacking PAPI fleet is below the Imperium Keepstar. (Image Credit: CCP Aperture)

PAPI high command ordered their pilots to stay logged out after the downtime ended. Imperium forces, by contrast, quickly logged back in and secured the unexpectedly empty battlefield, which then turned it into an enormous trap loaded with warp disruptors and anti-capital weaponry – waiting for the (presumably inevitable) moment when the PAPI fleet would also have to log back in and either resume their attack or withdraw from the field. The PAPI order to stay logged out left their enormous supercapital fleet (including more than 300 titans) essentially trapped and unusable (both ships and pilots).

This state of affairs has continued now for almost two months: a major PAPI supercapital fleet logged out in M2-XFE, and Imperium hellcampers waiting to destroy them the moment they log in.

After the first three and a half weeks, on January 27, PAPI staged a massive breakout, bringing thousands of pilots and ships into the system in an attempt to break the trap and free their fleet. The bulk of the trapped titans (170) were safely extracted, but not without cost. PAPI sacrificed 400 Dreadnoughts (worth 2 trillion ISK, the equivalent of approximately 20 titans) to draw enemy fire while the titans escaped.

Recent Developments

Since the breakout, M2 has seen some sovereignty battles and the occasional skirmish, but the vast majority of the time, Imperium pilots have simply waited in fleet, hour after hour, day after day, keeping watch – and waiting. Their efforts have not been entirely fruitless. Thirty-one PAPI pilots have logged in during that time and collectively fed just under 200 billion ISK worth of capitals and supercapitals to the Imperium’s ready guns.

Most of PAPIs hellcamp losses since the breakout have been easily replaceable

Most of the losses have been FAXes, ships cheap enough that it’s conceivable that some players decided it better to take the loss and get their pilot back rather than be unable to login. Two of the losses, however, a Hel lost on Feb 17 (29.3 billion) and an Erebus lost on Jan 28 (89.3 billion), were significantly more expensive. GoonWaffe member Hugh Breese, who has spent many hours manning the guns in Big Disco’s keepstar since the hellcamp began, said the Hel simply logged into the bubble field below the keepstar and got melted. “I typically gun, but it was dying fast enough [so] I didn’t bother,” he said.

The Erebus’s destruction was more dramatic. “It was a casualty of a failed extraction,” Breese said. “There was a PAPI fleet on grid at the time trying to clear bubbles. We had enough dictors on grid to keep it pinned down.” The titan was killed by the anti-cap Fortizar placed by the Imperium as part of the hellcamp – all except for the final blow which was accidentally provided by a Purifier from Pandemic Horde that was trying to free the titan by destroying warp disruption bubbles.

The Waiting Game

As the hellcamp continues, the Imperium has made adjustments to improve efficiency. “Early on, we maintained two full fleets,” said Dictateur Imperator, a regular hellcamp FC. “Now we know how many we need.” In addition, adjustments have been made to how ships are staged to improve responsiveness and flexibility, particularly slower ships that would be more difficult to move if kept on grid in M2.

“We have asked a lot of slow ships to stay in 1DQ,” said Imperator. “It’s easier to bridge them into a good position than have them pre-deploy.” Despite the hellcamp’s length, Imperator has no doubts about the Imperium’s ability to maintain it indefinitely. “We have a lot of regulars,” he said. “A lot of old Rorqual or PvE players. Remember all those Rorqual pilots? They have a lot of patience. A lot of patience.”

Big Disco’s Keepstar in M2-XFE keeping watch over the warp disruption bubble field where hundreds of PAPI ships have remain logged off for almost eight weeks

It’s not entirely clear what effect being forced to remain logged out for so long is having on PAPI pilots who are trapped. At least one decided he’d had enough last week and sold his trapped titan to the Imperium. But some PAPI pilots are unphased by the Imperium’s persistence. “I am quite happy to go another 8 weeks or even more,” said Kaylah Aideron, a TEST Ragnarok pilot who is one of those trapped on grid with her titan. “All titan pilots have alts, so we are all still going on fleets. If anything I would say it has upped my activity.”

It is undeniable that PAPI fleets have been active in the Imperium’s home region of Delve since the battle of M2. As the Imperium has intentionally shifted its focus from defending Delve to hellcamping M2, PAPI has had a free hand in the Imperium home region, and the easy killmails have made the waiting game in M2 easier for PAPI pilots to take. “The camp seems to be making the Imperium fleets a little smaller thus giving us the edge on a lot of timers,” Aideron explained. “It gives our newer FCs a 24/7 target to provoke. I think it’s definitely a net positive for PAPI.”

Despite its extraordinary longevity, direct comparisons between the M2 hellcamp and previous hellcamps may be misleading – at least according to PAPI FC ProGodLegend whose pilots remain trapped on grid. “Honestly, it’s not really comparable to other hellcamps in history that actually took effort,” he said. “Having a Keepstar that you just sit tethered on doesn’t really make it a hellcamp like any of the others. The Imperium doesn’t even need the camp, just the bubbles and an FC on watch.”

When asked if that means citadel tether mechanics have broken the hellcamp meta, ProGodLegend was succinct. “Citadel tether mechanics have broken a lot of things,” he said.

What’s Next?

The current status quo in M2 will not last forever. Having taken the M2 iHub in the beginning of February, in just a couple more weeks PAPI will be able to put down a cyno jammer in M2, which may affect the Imperium’s ability to respond to another breakout attempt – or a renewed attack on the Keepstar. PAPI has noticed the Imperium’s reliance on cynoing ships in from 1DQ as part of their hellcamp tactics, and aren’t afraid to poke the beehive. “Ringing the dinner bell in M2 by shooting the bubbles to see the scramble from 1DQ is always fun,” said Aideron. A cyno jammer in M2 would block such responses by the Imperium, forcing them to stage all hellcamp forces directly in M2.

But PAPI is quick to point out that they don’t need a cyno jammer to break the hellcamp. “As evidenced by the first breakout, obviously not,” said ProGodLegend.

But for now, the waiting continues.

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Comments

  • Sungodra

    *Imperium are the attackers?? Are u on drugs my friend?

    February 23, 2021 at 12:51 PM
    • Gwailar Sungodra

      Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

      Fixed. Thanks.

      February 23, 2021 at 2:40 PM
  • Guilford Australis

    Two observations:

    (1). It’s amusing and ironic that PGL cites “effort” as the distinction between “other hellcamps in history” and M2-. The most famous hellcamp prior to M2- was UALX, in which The Imperium put forth most of the “effort” on TEST’s behalf, camping PanFam’s titans for days until the eventual extraction. PGL seems to have a knack for getting other people to do his work – PanFam might reflect on that for a minute or two.

    (2). The hellcamp is a stalemate just like the rest of the war. It has become clear that PAPI will not “exterminate” Goons or even drive us out of Delve. TEST will not inherit Delve at PanFam’s expense. To achieve a decisive victory, PAPI needs to kill many Keepstars and sacrifice many titans – which we now know they are reluctant to do in light of their ongoing response to M2-. So it is absolutely in The Imperium’s best interests to keep 15% of PAPI’s titans locked down even if that means enduring PAPI’s inevitable Reddit chest-thumping over undefended structure kills.

    February 23, 2021 at 4:29 PM
    • ShutUp ShutUp Guilford Australis

      Everything anyone needs to know about PGL is plainly apparent in his body language whenever he appears on a stream. He’s a hunched over nebbish, plucking and tugging at a thin beard every time he has to answer a question he doesn’t like, filling airtime with erm and ars. The guy is 50% anxiety, 50% insecurity. Imperium leadership knows this already, you can see it in the way our public figures needle him at every opportunity.

      February 23, 2021 at 4:46 PM
      • Gwailar ShutUp ShutUp

        And yet he’s a director in one of the game’s biggest coalitions.

        Underestimating one’s opponents makes it more likely they will defeat you and minimizes your victory when they don’t.

        I believe that’s the mistake Legacy made going into this war. We should not repeat it.

        February 23, 2021 at 6:32 PM
        • Garreth Vlox Gwailar

          You can make fun of someone without underestimating them. Vily and progod for example have made it blatantly obvious they as risk averse (AKA cowards) as you can be in eve online, in some cases actively running away from fights because they ONLY had 2 or 2.5 to 1 odds. Its hard to underestimate someone who sets the bar that low on a regular basis. And based on how they seems to do all the work in their alliance (read vily’s freightor and jump freightor loss mails here) the reason they are “leading” test is no one else wanted the job, a similar issue we see in their coalition mate brave who is just now learning that you can’t dump an entire coalitions worth of logistics work on a single dude forever and expect him to just do it for you.

          February 23, 2021 at 9:28 PM
          • Seir Luciel Garreth Vlox

            If you are cautious the enemy calls you cowards. If you aren’t and it goes wrong (M2) you are the biggest idiot in EVE. You lose either way.

            February 24, 2021 at 9:53 PM
          • Moomin Amatin Seir Luciel

            M2-X was lost when PAPI did not log back in after DT. PAPI also controlled the system jammer at that point. PAPI waited to have every advantage for M2-X and lost it through not logging back in. Vily has already stated that he did not agree with the decision for PAPI to stay logged out.

            I should also note it is perfectly possible to be both a coward and an idiot at the same time.

            February 25, 2021 at 6:12 AM
          • Garreth Vlox Seir Luciel

            They weren’t cautious in the early part of the war, they were cowards then too and hid behind massive unmatchable numbers. But when you’re fighting on a keepstar and all I have to do is follow targets on three screens I can triple box my guys in defense fleets and papi’s 3:1 advantage disappears.

            February 26, 2021 at 7:44 AM
  • ShutUp ShutUp

    “All titan pilots have alts, so we are all still going on fleets. If anything I would say it has upped my activity.”
    Sure. That’s why fleet matchups have been almost 1:1 for the last two weeks or more, despite PAPI’s 3:1 advantage.

    February 23, 2021 at 4:37 PM
    • Almost 1:1 is like 2:1 and by 2:1 I mean 2/3 PanFam pilots and 1/3 Legacy pilots because goons haven’t showed up at all. Just yesterday we put one of your Sotiyo in hull timer right in front of your long lying noses in M2 and you were all tethered and didn’t want to engage us. The more time that hellcamp keeps going the more I think this will be the bane of goons. You will lose everything by just camping there and not being where you should take the fight.

      February 24, 2021 at 11:53 AM
      • Deni'z von Meanace Marus

        If you so good as you said, do the next step of supers exctration. You shouldn’t fear anything from Goons side since they’ve done long time ago.

        February 24, 2021 at 12:08 PM
      • ShutUp ShutUp Marus

        Oh no not a Sotiyo

        *puts feet up in 1DQ*

        February 24, 2021 at 3:36 PM
      • Garreth Vlox Marus

        ” Just yesterday we put one of your Sotiyo in hull timer right in front of your long lying noses in M2 and you were all tethered and didn’t want to engage us.”

        You mean you tried to bait us into fight you AWAY from the bubbles holding your titans hostage? Gee I wonder why we didn’t take that fight…

        February 24, 2021 at 8:47 PM
  • Moomin Amatin

    M2-X is the battle that is still being lost. It was lost when PAPI did not log back in. Vily has already said that this was a decision he did not agree with. A sentiment backed up by other PAPI leadership. Ever since then we have had shifting narratives from PAPI. PAPI were “pre-staged” in M2-X was one of the best lines but there are many others that could be considered competition. PAPI have left their members in M2-X for two months even though PAPI leadership got their supers out a month ago. The best bit about this is that PAPI are waiting to have control of a jammer, the very same jammer that they had control of when they started to lose the on-going battle on M2-X. At the same time PAPI also claim that it would be easy to extract the remaining supers they have in M2-X. I really cannot understand how PAPI members can accept what their leadership tells them. I mean shooting goons as they are goons is just fine, but the “truths” being touted by PAPI leadership is simply astounding.

    February 23, 2021 at 6:25 PM
  • chimpy

    The hellcamp is going to last longer than Covid at this rate.

    February 23, 2021 at 7:33 PM
  • Piggles is such a stupid fuck. “It’s not a real camp, tethers have fucked PAPI, we absolutely don’t need a cyno jammer to do our business we just feel like waiting until we have one because ~*reasons*~.”

    Does he actually believe any of us are dumb enough to believe the shit that comes out of his mouth?

    February 23, 2021 at 8:24 PM
    • Garreth Vlox Ganthrithor

      “Does he actually believe any of us are dumb enough to believe the shit that comes out of his mouth?”

      99% of what he says is aimed at keeping his own alliance convinced he knows what he is doing. I don’t think he’s dumb enough to expect anyone outside his alliance to buy his spin.

      February 23, 2021 at 9:29 PM
  • Garreth Vlox

    “But PAPI is quick to point out that they don’t need a cyno jammer to break the hellcamp. “As evidenced by the first breakout, obviously not,” said ProGodLegend.”

    LOL, yeah all you have to do is feed another 2 trillion in dreads…

    February 23, 2021 at 9:24 PM
    • Carvj94 Garreth Vlox

      Not to mention how it doesn’t change the fact that the Imperium still has plenty of capitals stored in system. PGL seems to think that Goon caps can only teleport in from elsewhere when in reality it’s Goon territory and there’s a functional keepstar so a cyno inhibitor isn’t an advantage.

      February 23, 2021 at 10:31 PM
  • Seir Luciel

    “As the Imperium has intentionally shifted its focus from defending Delve to hellcamping M2, in the Imperium home region, and the easy killmails have made the waiting game in M2 easier for PAPI pilots to take.”

    This is why I still believe PAPI should continue to utilize the opportunities the Hellcamp creates. I almost wonder if given enough time the M2 hellcamp might end up actually working in PAPI’s favor. No, isk wise it probably won’t. But it seems to be giving PAPI a strategic advantage when Goon pilots are perpetually taken out of defense forces to maintain the camp. Goons have to fight with a hand tied behind their back.

    Is possible that if this continues long enough historians will think of M2 as a (accidental) sacrificial gambit paid for by isk to purchase better strategic position? Could this be a Goon failure to realize that what once was capitalizing on PAPI error turned into a compulsion to camp leaving more important duties unattended? I’m not saying that’s what it is. I am speculating. To be truthful if I were Goons I wouldn’t do anything different, probably. Do you really let PAPI titans walk for free? No you don’t. It sure would be hard to sell to your members even if it was worth it, which it probably isn’t. Goons are in a Catch-22.

    February 24, 2021 at 10:18 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Seir Luciel

      The objective of The Imperium is “do not be exterminated”. They were then the secondary objectives of 1DQ and then M2-X that were gifted by PAPI. M2-X is not an opportunity or some good fortune for PAPI. It is a mistake that they are still not willing to accept as being their fault. There are many more Keepstars to go through yet as well.

      The error here by PAPI is to continue to lie to their members. TAPI started this war with the intention of a land grab. All the funnier as they approached The Imperium first to throw Panfam out of their space so that TAPI could move in. After numerous move ops and promises of The Imperium collapsing PAPI are now in a worse position than they were prior to Christmas.

      There is no Catch-22 for The Imperium. “For us, this is a war of extermination” is the original call of PAPI and that is what they will be held to. PAPI talked a very big game for months and months. The problem facing PAPI is that now Vily is talking of this war being another 6 to 8 months. PAPI leadership now have to keep all the members on board with “the plan” while their lies are exposed for all to see. So PAPI leadership talk of yet more move ops and phases and that this next part of “the plan” will see PAPI starve out The Imperium from 1DQ. Anyone who has been in a few bigs wars over the years knows that this is whishful thinking at best.

      February 25, 2021 at 6:26 AM
  • Crush Project

    meanwhile the rest of the sector continues to burn…

    February 25, 2021 at 6:13 AM
  • Crush Project

    such leet camping bro lol

    February 26, 2021 at 6:43 PM