Rise of a Stronger Horde?


When it comes to defending Sov in New Eden, the biggest Alliances usually take immense skill and time to successfully fly against. However, the space of Pandemic Horde has widely been used by others as a way to learn to PvP. It has become an area known for easy kills and good training grounds.

The biggest targets of these gate camps and roam fleets are newbros. These new capsuleers are the most susceptible to constant losses at the hands of camps, and more experienced players tend to do more of the killing. The obvious reasons for the disparity are simply time and SP—better trained pilots with better skills do better in fights. However, as of recent these norms have begun to change.

Pandemic Horde’s space has begun to shift away from being hospitable to campers, toward being a dangerous place for less-skilled roams. In recent days, Horde newbros die less and less often, which is a good sign—they are learning how to properly act in null. However, it would seem something new has awakened in Horde. Two weeks ago, hostile FC’s would take newbie fleets into Horde space to give their newbies practice on easy targets. But the last few hostile fleets died to Horde’s standing fleet. The victory of the standing fleet can be attributed to one simple Pandemic rule: Anyone can call a fleet. While this doesn’t mean that anyone has to answer your fleet ping, usually if it’s a well known FC calling it together, numbers won’t be an issue. On at least one occasion, a Darkness fleet in Geminate met with only a small response, but the fits that were brought made up for the lack of numbers. A fleet of 10 caracals and 4 tackle atrons wiped the newbie fleet with no losses.

Since then, most fleets have been war targets and neutral roam fleets. Fewer newbies, and more experienced fleets have arrived. These fleets had early success, but soon found an even match in Horde’s ability to fleet up quickly and respond accurately. The success of the standing fleet doesn’t come from organization though, but rather from disorganization. A 21-ship strong fleet roamed through Geminate in Cormorants, Caracals, Drakes, and as much logistics as any FC could dream for. What was the response? The standing fleet could only be described as a ‘kitchen sink’. It fielded ships from all races, and from frigates to battlecruisers.

The standing fleet brought together 29 pilots, a mistake on the enemy fleet’s end dooming them to their defeat. The enemy FC was “flying blind”, according to the Horde FC. The defense fleet chased the invaders through 11 systems, starting from the Pandemic capital. Eventually, the larger fleet found themselves stuck in a system with no exits except for the way they came in. After some waiting and 4 warp bubbles later, they came back through. The ensuing fight lasted around 5 minutes, with 2 losses to Pandemic and the hostile fleet losing most all of their ships and the majority of their capsules.

After reviewing the fight most participants agree that the inconsistency of the fleet was the strength of it. With so many different types of ships to deal with, the enemy couldn’t properly deal with the mismatched fleet. Since then, the standing fleet has been fiercely defending Geminate, with most fleets consisting of whatever ship capsuleers are flying at the time.

In the wake of these types of defenses, large enemy fleets have avoided Geminate. Developments like these haven’t been seen in Pandemic since I’ve been there. Only a few weeks ago, Pandemic Horde seemed threatened by a lack of advancements and improvement. This change could mark the end of stagnation for Horde.

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  • Rammel Kas

    Erhm… I think you will find they are mostly just distracted by the shitshow in spire at the moment.

    May 2, 2019 at 12:02 PM
    • Merc Thanatos Rammel Kas

      Yes, they are for the most part. However, new and inexperienced FC’s are leading the home defense of Geminate with the standing fleet. The article focuses on the home front for Horde and how much things have changed in the past month.

      May 2, 2019 at 12:28 PM
      • Rammel Kas Merc Thanatos

        Sorry we seem to be talking past each other here. I would ofttimes in the past be among those fleets who would lean on Horde. My perspective is from the outside leaning over the fence during your tenure in Clown Ring.

        The issue isn’t pilot skill points. It’s as you say somewhat of organisational method, and giving them the right framework. So it’s certainly interesting to hear some of those issues are being addressed. Biggest problem is still there however… the foundation level acl and standings. This choice is still going to bite you whenever the front returns. But I won’t preach. Horde leaders have heard this already.

        For the moment at least people have been too distracted by the collapse of the rental model in the spire to pay any more than casual attention to your home. This may change.

        There is one thing which does suggest improvement to us. Horde provide far more power to your wartime fleets now than do NC.

        May 2, 2019 at 12:57 PM
        • Merc Thanatos Rammel Kas

          Indeed, most of these issues are being addressed, but the improvement coming from new pilots and FC’s show promise for a better future for Horde should they stay with us. Out with the old in with the new so to speak.

          May 2, 2019 at 1:26 PM
          • Moomin Amatin Merc Thanatos

            Historically PL and NC FCs tend to lead the PH fleets during larger engagements, is this still the case?

            May 2, 2019 at 3:06 PM
          • Merc Thanatos Moomin Amatin

            It is for the most part, however fleets can be called by anyone in PH. As is the case with the standing fleet.

            May 2, 2019 at 6:53 PM
          • Moomin Amatin Merc Thanatos

            Thank you for the reply.

            I asked as the growth of in-house talent in PH, to my mind, is something that seems to have been stifled somewhat. You only develop FCs and supporting talent by giving the room for them to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes. All the time NC/PL FCs are taking control of the larger more important fights PH are hampered from giving their FCs those opportunities.

            To name FCs from pretty all the major power-blocs is pretty easy for me. But when it comes to PH I would struggle to name a well established bloc FC. Do you think that this hinders PH from ever being able to truly mature into a self-sufficient entity?

            I note that on the BR that PH outnumbered the T1 destroyer fleet by 2:1. With the PH fleet being a kitchen sink fleet there was also a lot more EHP with the ships available. To be brutally honest 3 caracals and a couple of logi could have just as easily dispatched the dozen or so cormorants. Doctrines exist for a reason and a very good reason at that.

            May 2, 2019 at 11:48 PM
          • Merc Thanatos Moomin Amatin

            Doctrines do indeed exist for a reason, however I do believe that these recent fights are showing growth in PH, however long it takes to mean anything is beyond me currently, but time will tell if this is a permanent trend or a simple spike in success.

            May 2, 2019 at 11:55 PM
          • Barter Kaundur Moomin Amatin

            Not sure what fleets Merc has been on but i have been on most mayor stratops in EU and early US tz the last weeks, and i have only once had a fc that wasn’t in horde (merged fleet with nc.).
            The operations may still be lead by NC. or PL fc’s (i am just a f1 pusher so i really can’t tell) but our fleets are mostly lead by our own fc’s.

            May 3, 2019 at 6:34 AM
  • Guilford Australis

    I think we have to say the past year has been checkered for Horde. Following Horde’s move to Geminate in February 2018, Gobbins announced that he believed Horde was finally stronger than Pandemic Legion and would begin operating independently. Several months later, The Imperium declared war on GOTG and other northern entities, and Horde did much of the heavy lifting in those fights – often turning out greater numbers than GOTG themselves. Along with their new allies Black Legion, they were the only entity putting up serious resistance in the north.

    However, Gobbins became enraged at the armistice extended by The Imperium and decided to initiate an ‘unfriendly reset’ of GOTG – which led to largely ineffectual hostilities against their former ally. Horde then declared intentions to take territory in Branch and was opposed there by Northern Coalition, leading to a disastrous end to the campaign and a withdrawal back to Geminate. Shortly after this, TEST declared war on Horde’s holding alliances in highsec, destroyed their market freeports in Perimeter and elsewhere, and ended their monopoly on taxes from PLEX sales in EVE. In spite of tough words from leadership, Horde has been unable to challenge TEST.

    The past several months have been difficult for Horde as TEST and Imperium squads have ravaged their renters all over the northeast, rendering Kalevala Expanse and Etherium Reach practically uninhabitable. Despite fighting gamely against the invaders, Horde has been unable to contain the damage. Leaked pings suggest that these activities are hurting Horde more than leadership might be letting on to line members.

    Concerning home defense, I consider that a basic responsibility of even the smallest alliances. It is admirable to form quickly and frequently to push hostiles off grid, but I’m not necessarily convinced home defense is a sign of alliance strength. However, if, as the writer describes, such fleets become a testing ground for new FCs and line members to learn alliance doctrines and the mechanics of PVP, then Horde is using them well. Perhaps such activities will lead to other strengths in the months and years to come.

    May 2, 2019 at 1:10 PM
    • Merc Thanatos Guilford Australis

      I’ve been in Horde for a while now, and I must say that over the past few months home defense has improved greatly. These new FC’s and fleets show great promise in PH’s future.

      May 2, 2019 at 6:58 PM
      • Romulus Loches Merc Thanatos

        The real judge of the effectiveness of a home defense fleet lies in the perceptions of the miner/ratters. If confidence in their safety goes up, they mine/rat more, thus making the home defense fleet effective. Simply winning the isk war is not enough, the real battle is in the minds of the people.

        May 3, 2019 at 11:25 PM
        • Moomin Amatin Romulus Loches

          Well I have seen a lot of PH Rorquals and Supers ratting in Tribute. This would put it under the capital umbrella from SH1. So not sure what that says about things. 🙂

          May 4, 2019 at 11:03 AM
          • Merc Thanatos Moomin Amatin

            It is required in PH that all Capital ships are docked or located under the Capital Umbrella. They may be moved for a mining op or ratting in other systems. However they must return to the Umbrella once done with their task. It’s just their rules.

            May 6, 2019 at 1:52 PM
        • Garreth Vlox Romulus Loches

          Well as the hunters have noticed there aren’t many ratters and miners left in horde space to hunt so the defense fleet can’t be doing that great of a job.

          May 4, 2019 at 7:08 PM
          • Merc Thanatos Garreth Vlox

            The blessed beans do most of the mining, however it’s up to the Corp who runs the mining to provide active defense for their fleets. The last blessed beans mining fleet knew their was a goon fleet 1 system over from them and they didn’t bother to even put up bubbles. The standing fleet hunts down roaming fleets and protects pilots who get tackled. They don’t handle a cloaked fleet that has been in space for the past 4 days. That’s usually up to leadership to deal with. The mining fleet got killed, the goons left asap and got out of geminate. PH let’s corps run mostly autonomously, so its frankly Blessed Beans fault. My Corp does ratting and mining in Geminate all the time, we simply put some effort into watching the systems near us and docking when someone bad enters.

            May 6, 2019 at 1:59 PM
    • “The Imperium declared war on GOTG and other northern entities, and Horde did much of the heavy lifting in those fights – often turning out greater numbers than GOTG themselves”

      This is incredibly wrong. The fleet numbers were actually leaked on Reddit a few months back. PH outformed GOTG like twice in the entire war, in engagements where all groups attended. Your perception may be warped by the poor relationship between CO2 and GOTG and instances where this resulted in Co2 not asking for GOTG to form.

      There was quite the outrage, actually, within northern leadership channels when PH showed up to attack Branch with an alliance deployment in Munins after fighting the entire goonwar with a single voluntary sig fighting in T1.

      May 8, 2019 at 1:12 AM
      • Guilford Australis Mick

        I am skeptical of arguments based on phantom evidence from a Reddit “leak,” as well as the lazy assumption that GOTG’s stratop metrics are the gold standard for wartime participation. Horde and Black Legion formed continually to counter The Imperium by intercepting fleets en route to strategic objectives, camping return routes to attack fleets weakened by battle, harassing capital ops, and a million other ways that would not show up in GOTG’s stratop metrics. Horde and Black Legion frequently turned up to fight when GOTG had decided to abandon objectives. Did GOTG’s metrics count all the fleets it stood down while Horde and Black Legion decided to fight anyway?

        You don’t provide the evidence you’re using to dismiss the above as (to borrow your hilariously overwrought language) “incredibly wrong,” and it is doubtful that such evidence would prove anything other than bias confirmation for those who lost the war in the north. Meanwhile, as one who fought from one end of the north to the other with multiple Imperium SIGs, Squads, and main fleets, I stand by my assessment.

        May 8, 2019 at 1:17 PM
        • “I don’t trust the (actual numbers) they leaked onto Reddit when this was argued about after the war, because ”

          It’s OK though, they tried to bomb you on the way home a few times. Makes up for showing up at X47 in T1 jam frigs.

          May 9, 2019 at 3:24 AM
          • Guilford Australis Mick

            Can I make up a quote for you, too? Here’s one:

            “I have Secret Evidence (which I decline to provide, naturally) proving that your facts are Incredibly Wrong. Having spent days feverishly fat-fingering that claim into my keyboard, I will now announce I never cared anyway and retreat into Sort Dragon’s comforting embrace.”

            May 9, 2019 at 11:08 AM
          • Ah yes, the super “secret evidence” that someone posted all over a public forum.

            Aren’t you late for your special schoolbus?

            May 10, 2019 at 1:32 AM
          • Guilford Australis Mick

            *Yawn.* I’ve already explained in detail why Sort Dragon’s “leaked” (totally reliable, most assuredly not Reddit agitprop) metrics are irrelevant to this discussion. Curiously, you did not respond to any of that.

            Are you proud of fixating on a minuscule detail completely unrelated to the article and only minimally significant to the comment it came from then spending several days arguing about it – getting yourself nowhere and convincing no one because your position is ridiculous? Do you even have any comments about the article, or did you just come to troll?

            May 10, 2019 at 1:43 AM
          • I did respond. I pointed out that your subjective personal observations are a poor basis for comparison. I could offer my own subjective observations, of seeing PH only a handful of times and in T1 meatgrinder doctrines, and PL only when they accidentally on purpose arrived on the wrong side the X47 keepstar, but I’ll always choose numbers over feels-like.

            Is there any chance you are an arts graduate?

            Perhaps I’m too easily triggered by the constant tripe PH puts out about the 2018 war, and around the fact that after Darkness chose to buy peace instead of failscade like Co2, Moa and KOS, or simply run away like PH ran from Cloud Ring, that PH then chose to attack GOTG, essentially for not deciding to die like a good meatshield.

            In any case with regard to the original post, though there is always the question of selection bias – is PH really getting better, or are the worst of them simply no longer playing? There isn’t a huge amount of PVE activity left in Gem & The Kav Expanse that isn’t bots at this point, though PH’s version of the locust fleet still gets along somewhat OK as it isn’t really economical to harass.

            But that is just my supposition and opinion, and really hard to properly quantify. You’d need access to seeing how regularly the average bean is logging in now compared to 6 months ago, when their participation in the war was still just a voluntary SIG, and Geminate was not a focal point.

            May 10, 2019 at 2:30 AM
  • Here’s an alternative interpretation: Horde are so content-starved from being camped into their own capital that the only activity its players can undertake at this point is to join ad-hoc “self-defense” gangs in kitchen-sink, garbage ships. Twenty-man roaming gangs are not “fleets,” and blobbing people’s casual roams with large gangs of assault frigates and whatever else happens to be laying around is not a sign of alliance strength, but of boredom and desperation.

    The only things Horde have in space in Geminate right now are far-flung VNI bots and a few hilariously bored people floating around BWF in Stabbers and other sub-fifty-million-isk assorted fits trying to “bait” anything that moves.

    May 3, 2019 at 6:22 AM
    • Garreth Vlox Ganthrithor

      “After reviewing the fight most participants agree that the inconsistency of the fleet was the strength of it.” Translation, the fleet comp was such a cluster fuck of stupidity the enemy FC had no idea what to shoot first giving horde the early advantage. This kind of bullshit fleet comp only works when small gangs fight small to medium gangs of newbros, if they tried this with a real defense fleet fighting over a strategic objective they’d get their shit pushed all the way into next week.

      May 3, 2019 at 7:41 AM
      • Merc Thanatos Garreth Vlox

        I understand where you’re coming from, however the point here is that they won the last month of fights they’ve had with roaming fleets. The main focus here also isn’t the fleet composition, that is simply a side note to consider, but rather the fact that new FC’s in PH are learning to properly command. Sure they make some mistakes here and there, but overall they have improved greatly in a short time. Also the article is posted as a question because this is a recent development and more time is needed to see if this is a permanent trend.

        May 3, 2019 at 11:46 AM
  • Lrrp

    So how long before they attack Delve.

    May 3, 2019 at 11:02 AM
  • Romulus Loches

    It’s nice to see new writers, especially ones providing alternative viewpoints. I wonder if these ‘kitchen sink’ FCs have merely been lucky or if they are actually using what they have and synergizing on the fly.

    May 3, 2019 at 11:12 PM
    • Merc Thanatos Romulus Loches

      I’d like to think they’re synergyizing on the fly, but only time can tell.

      May 6, 2019 at 2:00 PM