Pandemic Horde’s April Townhall


Header art by Cryo Huren

On April 24, Gobbins, the leader of Pandemic Horde (PH), delivered the April Townhall to his alliance. For more than an hour he and various PH FCs spoke on a number of topics, including PH’s war strategy, the industry changes, how the M2 breakout was planned, and a review of PH’s accomplishments since M2. Gobbins also took questions throughout. The first and most prominent topic was the final phase of PAPI’s War, in particular the attackers’ strategy for the assault on the last Imperium holdings in Delve: the O-EIMK constellation and the 1DQ1-A system.

The Last Phase of the War

The Townhall began with Gobbins providing a detailed breakdown of Pandemic Horde’s strategy for taking O-EIMK and 1DQ1-A. That strategy has two parts:

  1. How PAPI will attack the O-EIMK systems other than 1DQ
  2. How PAPI will attack 1DQ itself

Gobbins emphasized that this distinction is necessary because PAPI will not attack 1DQ proper until the rest of O-EIMK is slowly and methodically pacified. “There’s a lot of expectation about a big frontal assault on 1DQ coming up with some kind of big fight at the gate and that is unlikely to happen until those other systems have been [gotten] rid of” (1:53).

The main message, then, boils down to this: there’s still a lot of slow war left: “If somebody is expecting that this is going to be a quick . . . sort of activity with large numbers and massive fights, I believe you will be disappointed in your expectation” (2:29).

Strategy for the O-EIMK Constellation: Slowly Wear the Imperium Down

For the O-EIMK systems other than 1DQ, PAPI will follow the same strategy that it has used throughout the rest of the war: continually poke and prod at cyno jammers and IHubs over time until they wear the Imperium down and get the break they need. Once they break and take the IHub in a system, they will hold it for 35 days, then drop a cyno jammer, then purge the system.

In laying out the rationale for this methodical, slow approach towards taking the last systems outside 1DQ, Gobbins introduced a guiding idea behind PAPI’s war plan that he returned to several times during the towhall: it places a lopsided burden of defensive perfection on the Imperium: “Ultimately, one of the reasons why the attacker can eventually win (as long as enough pressure is maintained) is that the attacker only has to win once” (3:08).

PAPI only needs to win one time to eventually break one of these systems. The Imperium has to successfully defend every single time: “You kill the IHub once, and then the cyno jammer is broken, and if you already had enough momentum and strength to break the IHub you’ll probably be able to keep the IHub, and as you can see from the rest of Delve, once you can cyno jam the system, you can do whatever you want in that system” (3:09).

The question, then, becomes how long the Imperium can hold out on an objective before they break. In addressing this aspect, Gobbins introduced the other main idea behind PAPI’s war plan: the inability of the Imperium to maintain sufficient pilot engagement to hold objectives forever in the face of PAPI’s superior numbers.

“As far as how long this will take, I think the answer depends on when the . . . . resistance from Goons starts to wane, like elsewhere in Delve, when finally . . . there’s this one op where they’re overwhelmed, and then the IHub breaks” (3:43). And the key to wearing down the Imperium is simply persistent pressure day after day. “Generally speaking, it’s made of a lot of cyno jammer harassment, a lot of harassment of the fleets running the ADMs, a lot of daily sort of grind until eventually you get that IHub. This, I would say in a nutshell, is what the war is going to look like as far as the systems around 1DQ goes” (3:43).

Strategy for 1DQ: More of the Same

After discussing the slow-grind approach to the rest of O-EIMK, Gobbins turned to the plan for 1DQ itself (4:45). He began by emphasizing how long it will be before PAPI is prepared to attack 1DQ: “I think by then there will probably be another Townhall” (4:50).) He then broke down the two unique challenges PAPI will face in attacking 1DQ proper:

  1. There is a faction Fortizar in range of the IHUB which can nuke any capitals trying to entosis the 1DQ IHub (5:07),
  2. 1DQ is the Imperium staging system and contains a large number of Imperium assets and pilots ready in the system – which would make cyno jammers irrelevant to PAPI’s efforts to pacify it (5:22).

PAPI’s method for countering these challenges will as methodical and slow-paced as the strategy for the rest of O-EIMK, but instead of trying to take the IHub first, they will focus on manually killing Imperium cyno jammers (presumably with subcaps), putting down citadels to enable their own forces to tether, and then making a play for the IHub to enable their strategic forces to cyno in at will. “When we get to that stage, I would assume that the initial approach would be similar, with . . . the harassment until the cyno jammers start to be reliably down, and then you start to get some Azbels up and running (some friendly Citadels that you can tether at) and then you start to make some plays for the IHub, and in this case maybe play for the faction Fort [that protects the IHub] first” (5:49).

What About a Big Super Fight?

After Gobbins laid out the basic strategies, he addressed questions regarding whether a big supercapital fight can be expected as part of the 1DQ assault. His response:

“The answer is ‘no,’ if you ask me. But it’s important to remember that Super fights often happen not because somebody planned them. Because I think at the strategic level, if it were up to, say, the people like me and the people like me on the side of Goons, if both agree that a Super fight should happen, you almost never have both sides, sort of, coming to the conclusion, that, ‘Yeah, we should definitely take a Super fight here.’ What has happened in this war is that most of the fights in which a bunch of Supers died and a bunch of Supers fought, they’re either the case of M2 where we were supposed to go in with cyno jammers (and it wasn’t the most important Keepstar as you know), but then the cyno jammer was forced early on (ultimately because of our sloppiness), and then we decided to go in anyways. And then Goons started jumping some Supers, but in tether you know (kind of like testing the waters). And then we followed up with our own Supers. And so what I’m saying here is that if you had asked me, ‘Do you expect a Super fight in M2?’ I would also have said ‘no,’ but then a Super fight happened. So the answer is that those kind of things are very unpredictable and really depend on the FCs at the moment and what’s happening; and often also how bored people are. If there’s a lot of pent up . . . appetite for using Supers – they haven’t been used in a while – it looks like the enemy’s weak or whatever; and then it’s like, ‘Yeah, let’s drop Supers here.’ . . . Specifically, if you were to think about the final assault on 1DQ Keepstar type thing, I would doubt that there would be Supers being dropped on, especially since we know that the server conditions are not reliable, and that if something goes wrong you get basically nothing – no compensation or any kind of CCP trying to fix things (there’s only so much they can do). So, yeah, that would be my short answer. Strategically speaking, I don’t see it, but the reality of the war is that a Super fight can happen – spark out of anywhere – unpredictably.”

What if the Imperium Pack 1DQ with Thousands of Pilots?

Following Gobbins’ comments about the role of server limitations in limiting the likelihood of a Super fight in 1DQ, he spent several minutes discussing server issues in general, which was followed by specific questions about what PAPI’s answer would be if the Imperium simply crams many thousands of pilots into 1DQ every time PAPI tries to engage, essentially blocking any type of offensive action by overwhelming the server. His reply:

“The answer is we only have to win once. . . . Every step of the way in this war, when we went through some kind of choke point, whether it was breaking the first system in Fountain, or whether it was getting the first Keepstar anchored in NPC Delve, or breaking the first systems in Delve, or breaking M2, the first attempts were always met with overwhelming Goon response, because they kind of have this pattern of getting everybody really amped up . . . and then they will form massively the first time. Absolutely massively. And then again they will have a ton of dudes the second time. Maybe the third time. But then, every single time we did this, their numbers started to taper off, and eventually like I said, you only need to break that IHub once. You only need to get that Keepstar anchored once. And so progress comes afterwards. So that’s the simple answer. If they have 6000 people, and the node is unplayable, I doubt that leads to a fight. . . . If they can keep the 6000 up forever, then they’ll be able to protect the system forever. And if they don’t, then, you know, either the IHub will fall, the cyno jammers first will fall, and then an Azbel pops up, and eventually the system will be done with” (19:40).

He followed up immediately with comments on what the Imperium’s current participation numbers look like and their ability to form.

“As far as Goon numbers, . . . I do expect that any time there is a massive timer . . . that a ton of Goons will come that otherwise would never be around for fleets. I think for the everyday fleets I expect what we’ve seen so far, which is first day there’s a ton of them, and then a little less of them, and then eventually you get only the hardcore guys, and that’s when it seems that our numbers really overwhelm them” (21:50).

Other Topics

In addition to previewing war strategy for the final phase of PAPI’s War, Gobbins and several FCs covered a number of additional topics:

  • Doctrine changes for 1DQ (Rokhs maybe) (15:20)
  • Would he accept the Mittani’s surrender? (He won’t surrender) (23:20)
  • An update on whether the Imperium is burning Legacy’s home space (not really, since they haven’t killed any Keepstars) (24:30)
  • The Industry Changes (Provided summary of impacts for those unaware and some general advice. PH needs to do what the Imperium did the last time the economy changed and capitalize on it to grow stronger. The changes will hurt the Imperium while pinned in one constellation.) (36:06)
  • How the M2 Breakout was planned (3D grid mapping and lots of opsec (author’s note: this section was very cool) (55:45)
  • How PH pulled itself from the brink after M2 (1:00:00)

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  • EVE Player #27482716

    Great job Gwailar.

    April 27, 2021 at 4:00 PM
  • Alaric Faelen

    So….our only power is blobbing them. We know we can’t actually win a fight. Our only hope is that Goons lose more people to boredom than we do so we have a big enough blob to win by N+1.

    We need to rename this to The War of Weaponized Boredom.

    April 27, 2021 at 4:55 PM
    • Didn’t goons originate the blueballs strategy?

      April 28, 2021 at 3:01 AM
      • Moomin Amatin Noob

        Oh you mean “hell dunk or blue balls”? The ideology of former Goon Sky Marshall Vily? The one who wanted to dictate how alliance assets are used rather than letting the line members decide? I wonder what ever happened to that guy?

        April 28, 2021 at 3:55 AM
        • Elithiel en Gravonere Moomin Amatin

          Vily said on Talking in Stations, that he’s happy to take a whole year to break down the constellation. So yeah, that guy…the one who wants to waste 12000 player’s time being bored whilst doing gate games and Mexican stand offs.

          April 28, 2021 at 8:22 AM
          • Yet Goons embraced the philosophy wholeheartedly at the time so who said it is completely irrelevant.

            April 28, 2021 at 7:33 PM
          • Vertigoe Noob

            Goons yes embraced it but have rejected it. Panfam has done the opposite they used to reject it but have now embraced it.

            April 29, 2021 at 2:28 AM
          • Moomin Amatin Noob

            Goons did and learnt the hard way that it is a terrible approach to war. Thankfully The Imperium then spent the next 5 years changing its approach. Anyone remember PanFam mocking The Imperium’s deployment to Hakonen? A little later The Imperium watched PanFam run away when their home was burnt.

            Now after 10 months of fighting 50k vs 150k (according to Dotlan) you are still saying that The Imperium uses “helldunk or blue balls”? History already remembers something quite different.

            April 29, 2021 at 5:44 AM
        • Thanks, not in either group so not intimately knowledgeable about the origin.

          I do note that Goons embraced the philosophy wholeheartedly at the time – so the fact that Vily said it is irrelevant, and my last question was completely ignored.

          April 28, 2021 at 7:32 PM
  • Guilford Australis

    Gobbins is unwilling to use supercapitals to attack 1DQ because of server limitations. But his plan is… to corral the entire population of The Imperium into 1DQ, thus severely exacerbating server issues for an attack by his own forces. I’ll admit it seems a bit counter-intuitive.

    1DQ has five Keepstars. In 10% TIDI, those things repair in real time while Gobbins’ Rokhs or whatever fire one volley every ten minutes. And The Imperium can pre-stage its own supers in whatever Keepstar is coming out of a timer.

    My suspicion is that the promised sack of 1DQ ain’t happening without a lot of dead PAPI supercapitals. Subcaps won’t do it, and Imperium supers can melt dreadnoughts all day long while sitting on tether.

    April 27, 2021 at 6:52 PM
  • Deni'z von Meanace

    So sounds like goons are really facing the end of it. Horde has plans and will follow them. Goons don’t show any counter actions for a few months already and keep loaing infrastructures which is ok, but more important can’t hold key ihubs which is again major factor for this war.
    And like his summary for Imp burning Legacy’s home – No, since they didn’t kill any KS. Hehe.

    April 27, 2021 at 7:56 PM
    • kwnyupstate . Deni'z von Meanace

      More like PAPI is facing the end of the war which they also state they aren’t willing to try which means having to attack 1DQ.

      April 27, 2021 at 11:40 PM
      • You should be most worried that, as it stands now, the war ends when PAPI says it does.

        Goons have literally no ability whatsoever to even influence, never mind dictate, how the war will end. The initiative is entirely with PAPI and Goons can only react. Y’all are Lee in Richmond, VA.

        April 28, 2021 at 3:24 AM
        • kwnyupstate . Noob

          GOONs have dictated how the war will end by concentrating forces and defenses in 1DQ; a spot where PAPI can’t afford to take the monumental losses (especially post-scarcity). You guys can’t even SRP lost titans from M2 months later.
          PAPI is even having townhalls now telling members to get the idea of that big battle out of their heads! Lee couldn’t handle the onslaught of northern forces and went out of his comfort zone in Gettysburg; whereas GOONs have done the opposite by staging their defenses where they can’t be defeated.

          April 28, 2021 at 4:47 AM
          • Deni'z von Meanace kwnyupstate .

            Maybe you stop ref to the SRP titans since that don’t even matter. Matter is that goons seized to the volume of 1DQ and it’s just a matter of time when it’s assaulted.

            April 28, 2021 at 5:30 AM
          • Elithiel en Gravonere Deni'z von Meanace

            You don’t even have enough feroxes on contract after losing so many last night. How do they ever hope to SRP titans, let alone have enough ships and finance to assault 1DQ?

            April 28, 2021 at 8:25 AM
          • Deni'z von Meanace Elithiel en Gravonere

            Why do I need a Feroxes if don’t fly them nor present PAPI’s side?

            April 28, 2021 at 11:57 AM
          • Tell the guys who haven’t received the isk that was promised for their titans, who will be added to that list in the next big fight when the titans are the cost of a keepstar. Are you willing to put your keepstar asset at risk if your alliance can’t promise they will reimburse it? You may say yes but many people will say no.

            April 28, 2021 at 1:29 PM
          • kwnyupstate . Vertigoe

            And even after MONTHS AND MONTHS later they still can’t replace. PAPI has NO HOPE of replacing ships needed to defeat 1DQ and even if they win would be completely neutered.

            April 28, 2021 at 4:32 PM
          • kwnyupstate . Deni'z von Meanace

            PAPI not being able to replace TITANS doesn’t matter?
            Sure matters when they will need to use big toys to defeat the Imperium.

            April 28, 2021 at 4:30 PM
          • By the time Lee was in Richmond, Gettysburg was ancient history.

            April 28, 2021 at 7:35 PM
        • Gwailar Noob

          Which is easier to assault:
          T5Z or 1DQ?

          The Imperium has options.

          April 28, 2021 at 4:53 AM
          • Deni'z von Meanace Gwailar

            wait what? but do goons have ballz to attack T5?

            April 28, 2021 at 5:28 AM
          • Marus Gwailar

            It doesn’t matter which system is easier to assault. What matters is which side has the will, the manpower and the resources to attack the other’s side system. So far I haven’t heard the goons planning an attack on T5Z (maybe they keep it secret), not to mention seeing any activity to do so. Last we heard from the mittani was to barricade inside 1DQ system or that constelation. But if a goon counteroffensive will happen, we will counter it with a smile on our faces.

            April 28, 2021 at 2:21 PM
          • Noob Gwailar

            In order to effectively assault T5Z, goons would have to leave 1DQ vulnerable whereas PAPI has the numbers to assault and defend at the same time – or is the Goons “fighting the rest of the universe” claim bullshit?

            April 28, 2021 at 7:36 PM
  • Alison King

    All the salt Goons are reaping from Papi , all the wasted hours of your plex subs , all the tears of its not fair for the defender , defends there space. Goo Goons

    April 27, 2021 at 8:16 PM
    • Vertigoe Alison King

      The assets required to defend 1dq are there nothing wasted. Everything else is in other alliances like Pandemic Horde ratting away or in high sec running abyssals. You can’t stop anyone from making isk or importing anything into Delve.

      April 28, 2021 at 3:44 PM
  • Bronze Condor

    Pandemic is the Soviet Union vs Afghanistan (Goons).

    April 27, 2021 at 10:07 PM
    • Thing is, Goons don’t have an analog to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and United States, funding and arming them for free, while at the same time PAPI wanted this war and aren’t essentially dead broke, led by geriatric dementia patients, with an apathetic, if not hostile, citizenry – unlike the Soviet Union.

      So – that analogy is pretty much retarded.

      Except for the fact that the entire universe outside the Goons wants to join the jihad against them. That part is correct.

      April 28, 2021 at 3:09 AM
      • Bronze Condor Noob

        You don’t know that.

        April 28, 2021 at 5:04 AM
        • Don’t know what?

          April 28, 2021 at 7:37 PM
    • Deni'z von Meanace Bronze Condor

      PAPI is US vs. Iraq

      April 28, 2021 at 5:27 AM
    • Elithiel en Gravonere Bronze Condor

      Don’t you mean Afghoonistan?

      April 28, 2021 at 8:26 AM
  • Moomin Amatin

    Imagine starting a war of extermination where you know that your enemy lives in a heavily defended system and then not having a plan to assault it after 10 months. Almost as if the PAPI plan was to hope that The Imperium just left Delve. The “good” news is that World War Bee may be over in 8 months, at least according to Vily.

    April 27, 2021 at 11:25 PM
  • kwnyupstate .

    In other words he is scared to attack 1DQ. If he thinks he can avoid a big fight he is dumb.

    April 27, 2021 at 11:38 PM
  • Aaron Kitchell

    So the plan is to make the game so mind-numbingly boring that Goons stop logging in? That sword cuts both ways, you know. The key difference being that Blue Doughnut has to rage ping, and jump for each timer. All I have to do is log my 6 alts in, undock, and throw on Pornhub.

    I hope you have a lot of Autism, you’re gonna need it.

    April 28, 2021 at 2:30 AM
  • Elithiel en Gravonere

    Let’s go over the d-3 ihub attack idea for a moment. Their plan, seems to be replace a pos or two with their own to get an initial foothold. Troll wear our guys out on the jammers. Hot drop every adm fleet in autz to prevent strategic indexes being high, then go hard and entosis the ihub to break it, then somehow get their own onto grid and drop it. Before they do that, they’ve got to put up a major fight against a faction fortizar. What with subcaps vs. caps + subcaps on imperium side? Good luck with that. Passpi pissed away 1113 ships last night and don’t have enough feroxes on contract to replace them fast enough. The night before they welped a whole FRT Ferox fleet and gained nothing. It’s going to be a woodchipper for months before they get even a slither of a foothold on the constellation unless they use capitals. I suppose they’ll resort to trying to kill off our capitals with subcaps and then eventually bring their own when we stop fielding enough like they did last night. All of this is pretty predictable. Risky curveballs win strategic objectives, not this rubbish. My favourite is how they telegraph their every move, before they make it. We need to throw them a few curve balls to make them trip over their own shoes…

    April 28, 2021 at 2:31 AM
    • Gobbins’ wet dream rests upon Papi joining fleet more than Goons. Everyone knows that feeding your members into the meat grinder day after day for say 8 solid month only helps improve numbers 😛 I’m sure it will go great!

      April 28, 2021 at 1:46 PM
  • tootiredtoname

    As a neutral hi-sec dweller watching from afar, I think Gobbins is right in his general strategy of boring out the Goons. I usually watch the Meta Show at some point each week, and it’s a interesting and funny show, and the guys on it seem to enjoy a good time. This Gobbins guy is a boring government accountant by comparison. And I think that’s what’s going to win it for PAPI. The Goons are playing EVE for fun, and PAPI (leadership?) is playing for domination (which I guess is fun for them).

    Judging from posts and replies around the internet, the Goons have been wanting a big super assault on 1DQ because of the exciting content (I wanted it to happen too). But if PAPI is genuinely willing to keep sending fleets of battlecruisers for up to a year, won’t it get too boring for Goons?

    At the end of the day, it’s not your real life home your defending, and you can go to NPC space and get a lot more exciting content by becoming the Viking raiders of Eve,; bringing random death and destruction upon your former enemies. And Gobbins and Noraus can sit back and know that they can rebuild everything with their massive rental and krabbing income.

    Two different game objectives and play styles.

    April 29, 2021 at 12:40 AM
    • Gray Doc tootiredtoname

      Your comments here are insightful, but I think you misjudge the effect of the different objectives and play styles. You assume the more serious (Gobbins) approach will win and the “playing for fun” style (Imperium) will lose. I reject that notion, though I accept everything else you’ve said. When you get a bunch of players having fun together, they are willing to endure MUCH more than people playing for some serious cause. It’s ironic, and probably shouldn’t be that way, but it’s often true.

      April 29, 2021 at 3:04 AM