At 01:00 UTC on January 3, the hull timer on the Imperium Keepstar in the system M2-XFE is due to become vulnerable. After the record-breaking battle of three days before in the same system, in which at least 153 titans were destroyed, Goons gathered in the system well in advance of the armor timer clock. Before PAPI forces even showed up, Goons logged in some 4,500 pilots into the system, ready to do battle again.
PAPI forces gathered their forces and sent scout ships in, followed shortly by some subcaps ships. Early chatter on the Brisc Rubal INN stream focused on what might happen when PAPI jumps in. Will the server buckle? Will the pilots come in piecemeal (a recipe for a PAPI disaster)?
But speculation gave way to reality as at 12:01 UTC, PAPI jumped in and the battle is now on. If you are reading this, get in fleet, regardless of the side. This promises to be a potentially record-breaking fight, the record-breaker within a week. Here at INN we will keep this story updated, so refresh your screen often for periodic updates. You can watch the INN live stream here.
The waiting seems interminable. Everyone expects the fight to begin within minutes.
Here come the titans. This fight is on!
UPDATE, 12:08 UTC: First titan has died, a PAPI Ragnarok piloted by touble man from TEST. PAPI having trouble loading the grid. “The first [titans] to load grid were the unlucky ones,” Dawn Rhea noted, as ships are jumping in piecemeal.
UPDATE, 12:22: Four PAPI titans down. Timer is not vulnerable for another 48 minutes and the PAPI losses are piling up. It’s early moments, though, and this will be a long brawl.
UPDATE, 12:30: Five PAPI titans down. The KS is still invulnerable for 40 more minutes. PAPI seems to have loaded on grid in a very poor strategic position, unable to hit Imperium titans, which are below the KS. PAPI is losing titans at a rate of about one every five minutes real time. “The fight is becoming lopsided very early,” Rubal noted. “We sort of expected that.”
UPDATE, 12: 43: Talking in Stations (TiS) stream is reporting a 45-minute lag for anything entering the system PAPI now down 10 titans. EliseRandolph on TiS, “If you are in Imperium, you are jumping for joy. You are laughing now.” Imperium titans slowly creeping (in tidi) to get in range of the PAPI fleets. So far, the Imperium titans have shot nothing.
UPDATE, 12:49 UTC: EliseRandolph, on TiS, noted, “We are almost at 15 PAPI kills and Imperium hasn’t fired a single doomsday weapon.”
UPDATE, 12:55 UTC: An unfitted titan gets destroyed by Imperium. Clearly, we are seeing an issue with loading grid.
UPDATE, 1:00 UTC: RonUSMC streamer: “The only thing that’s loading is the hull, so [Imperium] is just killing things that can’t defend themselves. Jumping in with an unfit titan, you know what I mean? It’s, uh, it’s people that can’t load the grid. . . . We didn’t know this bad would happen.”
UPDATE, 1:05 UTC: Unconfirmed reports of 26 PAPI titans already lost, with the KS timer not yet become vulnerable. “We are waiting on our zkill list to update,” said Rubal, “If [the fight] remains as lopsided as it has begun, it may end much sooner than anyone expected.”
UPDATE, 1:10: Reports are coming in now that the dead titans that didn’t load fittings, and were subsequently destroyed, are reappearing, docked up from where they were undocked. Local now shows 5835 pilots. The Keepstar is now vulnerable, but is now repairing. Imperium still has not fired weapons from their titans. All the titan kills are coming from other Imperium ships.
UPDATE, 1:18 UTC: Brisc Rubal reports on his INN stream that PAPI is trying to disengage and leave. Dawn Rhea says that is confirmed. TiS streamers are reporting the same decision – PAPI wants to cut their losses and leave grid.
UPDATE, 1:26 UTC: Tiberius, on TiS: Imperium has shown that if you get enough people on grid early, you can make other systems like 1DQ unassailable.
UPDATE, 1:34 UTC: EliseRandolph on TiS, “Make no mistake about it, this is very damaging for PAPI. The morale loss from wanting to fight and being denied it, that’s a different kind of sting.”
Sulley, on TiS, notes that one dead pilot, whose titan died, is happy to be done. There was nothing pilots could do to stop the KS from repairing.
UPDATE, 1:42 UTC: The Keepstar has fully repaired. PAPI is attempting to withdraw. The epic battle we looked forward to is sputtering to a halt, with dozens of lost PAPI titans, some of which are reappearing in dock.
UPDATE, 1:52 UTC: PAPI is trying to leave the field. The talk on INN, TiS, and RonUSMC is about the server and the oddities involved. PAPI pilots reporting getting their ships back in the dock, as if they never left. No one knows exactly if those ships will stay in dock, or will ultimately disappear. Rubal reports that 59 PAPI titans died, though some of these may have reappeared in dock.
FINAL UPDATE, 2:11 UTC: The expected battle did not go as planned. PAPI got slaughtered. Imperium lost no titans and the KS repaired. Questions remain that will take days to answer: Was this a massive tactical error by PAPI? Or was this a server glitch gone so wrong the PAPI titans loaded, almost one by one, into a kill zone of epic proportions? Was a tactic developed by Imperium (loading many pilots onto a grid very early) that could theoretically blunt all future attempts to kill Imperium Keepstars? Thanks for following this story on INN.