The Second Battle in M2–The Fight is On Now!


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.

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  • Lars Jansen

    Lets goooo!

    January 3, 2021 at 12:28 AM
  • Carvj94

    Don’t worry. This is all going according to PAPI’s plan. They’ll announce on reddit tomorrow that they successfully distracted the Imperium’s forces by feeding them titans for the better part of a day and completed their true objective of scouting Delve while they were busy!!!

    January 3, 2021 at 12:47 AM
    • Susurrus Synaesthesia Carvj94

      Aaannd CCP will give them their titans all back.

      January 3, 2021 at 5:16 AM
      • Garreth Vlox Susurrus Synaesthesia

        If they do that, they will have a PR DISASTER on their hands that will make the Brisc banning look tame by comparison, their stated policy has been to NEVER replace TIDI losses, if they go back on that now the fallout would be catastrophic.

        January 3, 2021 at 7:33 AM
        • Susurrus Synaesthesia Garreth Vlox

          Well, that’s good to hear.

          January 3, 2021 at 4:37 PM
        • Romulus Loches Garreth Vlox

          Similarly though, they won’t remove the ‘ghost’ titans that jumped but reappeared in T5Z.

          January 4, 2021 at 4:07 AM
  • kwnyupstate .

    Looks like up to 150 or so dead titans on PAPI side and none on Imperium. I was listening to a twitch stream after the battle and Vily was talking and seemed completely clueless; repeatedly saying he should be able to expect to bring all these people into a system and the server working. He lead PAPI into the largest defeat in EVE history which was largely preventable. If PAPI continues following him it is the biggest mistake they could make.

    January 3, 2021 at 8:01 AM
  • Simon Chui

    It turns out jumping into heavy tidi into range of thousands of waiting hostiles is a bad idea.

    January 3, 2021 at 8:17 AM
  • My Sabre and I arrived in system about four hours before the Keep timer. Our titans were already in position. I set about making some bookmarks around the bubble field below the Keep in preparation for a breakout attempt by their caged supers. As the hours passed and the timer ticked down, we just continued to cyno more and more and more caps and supercaps into system, until local exceeded 4,000 with only a token hostile presence in system. At that point, with an hour or so (IIRC) to go on the Keepstar timer, I was talking to my pals on Discord about the developments (or lack thereof). I was 99% sure PAPI would just stand down. Contesting just didn’t make any sense: we held the grid. We had our fleets in system, on grid, fully loaded. Our supercaps were pre-positioned to engage any PAPI supers that might log in.

    I was barely paying attention to my client at this point and had muted comms, but was periodically checking in on EVE just for kicks. At some point I flipped back to EVE and noticed the PAPI Onyx fleet warping onto grid above the Keep and beginning to engage something. I was sort of confused about what they might be doing (they seemed to be shooting some friendly frigates or something or fighting over anchoring cyno inhibitors), but I went ahead and paused my youtube videos and unmuted comms. The grid was too congested for me to notice the cyno going up, but suddenly I saw a couple of Ragnaroks and Leviathans appear and we started discussing what the fuck was going on in dictor-fleet comms.

    At first I thought it might have been a mistake– maybe one or two titans accidently jumped to a cyno meant for subcap bridging? I noticed a couple of Levis bump solidly off the cyno and began coordinating with a friend to try and set up a probe-fling on one of them (it ended up not working at all because we flung to the wrong Levi due to the ranges on the probe results being almost indistinguishable from one another). To our collective amazement, more supercapitals continued to pour through the cyno. Within just a minute or two of real time, the first titan kills began to be reported in comms.

    I still have no idea what they were thinking. It’s hard to imagine the depths of hubris required to make any of what they did seem like a good idea. The mere fact that we had ~4,000 players already loaded onto grid should’ve been enough to sell them on the idea of politely declining the fight. It wasn’t a strategically important structure. Their logged-off, caged super fleet was not in any immanent danger. The cyno location made zero sense: jumping in on an enemy Keepstar grid, but not in range of the enemy supercaps, when you have a friendly Fortizar available? Jumping to a system with over 4k people in it already and trying to hot-load a combat grid? What?

    Preliminary reports certainly show them paying a steep price for their questionable decisionmaking. Here’s to hoping the reports of dead ships being magically returned to their owners’ hangars are false: they surely deserve to suffer the consequences of such a massive misstep.

    January 3, 2021 at 8:32 AM
  • CarlGustav

    Why on earth do you jump in to a heavy grid? Imperium did the same error a few days before Br-5 and lost tons of dreads.

    Learn from the past to know of the future.

    You jump in to system at a safe. Then align and warp to grid to avoid MOST of the lagging issues as brain in box is loaded jumping in to system. Sure you might get stuck in bubbles but that’s what you got a sub cap fleet for to clear.

    January 3, 2021 at 9:38 AM
    • kwnyupstate . CarlGustav

      I listened to Vily and others talking on twitch streams after the “battle” and they said they had everyone formed and kind of had to do something. This is just the immature nature of young unexperienced people.

      January 4, 2021 at 1:16 AM
      • Deni'z von Meanace kwnyupstate .

        – So we all here, let’s do something!
        – How about suicide cyno jump?
        – Sounds like a plan!

        January 4, 2021 at 2:35 AM
      • Romulus Loches kwnyupstate .

        Vily and PGL aren’t “young [i]nexperienced people” though. Both of them have played Eve and been on these types of campaigns before. All of these claims about believing that the server would hold up is spin. They had the same knowledge that everyone else had and made a bad call that they don’t want to take ownership of now.

        January 4, 2021 at 4:13 AM
        • They did it because they’re terrified of looking weak: they didn’t want to form everyone up and then tell them to stand down mere days after their last supercap thrashing. There was no other reason for them to take this fight.

          Unfortunately for them, the whole world already knows they’re weak and cowardly. You don’t bring a force three times bigger than your opponent’s to the South and then proceed in the most risk-averse manner possible at every juncture and come out looking strong. Everyone already knew. Now in addition to looking weak, they look stupid.

          January 4, 2021 at 6:09 AM
          • Orihara Izaya Ganthrithor

            I wouldn’t blame PAPI for going the slow and risk-averse way. I don’t like it, it is less fun, but it makes sense. Jumping right into TiDi, onto a swarm of enemy titans and supers already set up on grid does not make sense. It was a bad call, one that they probably made because simply retreating would have been bad for morale. Not that PAPI morale will likely see any improvements over this either, mind you; as I said, this was a bad call on their part.

            January 5, 2021 at 8:09 AM
          • Normally I’d agree with you about the being risk-averse, and there’s nothing wrong with being *careful* when you’re relatively evenly-matched, but to be constantly taking the most risk-averse stance possible time after time while outnumbering your opponent 3:1 is pretty pathetic. At some point it begins to look less like prudence and more like abject cowardice and ineptitude.

            January 12, 2021 at 7:12 AM
          • Orihara Izaya Ganthrithor

            It kind of depends on how you view the stakes here. If this were a real war and there were actual lives at risk, not to mention your own life, you too would (presumably) take every possible precaution to avert that risk. If there was a course of action that was absolutely safe (or let’s say 99.99% safe), you would totally take it instead of one that was only 99% safe, no matter how much it made you look like a coward. “Cowardice” in that context can simply be the rational attitude. Now not saying that these exact numbers are appropriate here, but you get the idea.

            Since this is a game, we are operating under the assumption that the participants value their ingame assets quite a bit differently than their actual lives in the previous analogy, when weighing things up against the fun to be had and risks to be taken. Now that no doubt is still true, but this does call attention to the fact that, depending on how you regard the stakes you’ve placed on the table, there are plenty of different positions to take on the spectrum from frivolously taking risks for the sake of excitement, all the way to making absolutely sure you take every imaginable precaution no matter the tedium.

            Lastly, I just wanted to remark on the fact that the 3:1 ratio, while both sides seem to like mentioning it for their own reasons (Imperium to show how disadvantaged the are, PAPI to boost morale), is not quite the complete truth either. Sure, if you just count every possible participant from the alliances at war, you can arrive at their figure, but what matters is actual engagement with the conflict, how effectively you can mobilize these numbers. PAPI is large and diverse, and quite frankly, they have way weaker reasons to participate than the Imperium. It’s a version of the defensive advantage, only instead of being generally unmotivated, you can just now show up. So yeah, if you factor in actual participation in battles, PAPI obviously still has a huge numbers advantage, though the gap isn’t quite as large.

            January 14, 2021 at 12:13 PM
    • Alaric Faelen CarlGustav

      Gaming ego won’t allow for making smart decisions. Anytime an alliance makes a strategic decision not to engage, it opens the flood gates of propaganda and mockery from the other side.
      It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Losing fights is bad. But not taking them is often even worse. With a big loss you can say ‘at least we engaged’, but not taking the fight not only looks like cowardice (even if it’s actually a wise decision) but it is terrible for your members’ morale and still usually wastes hours of your peoples’ time. Doesn’t take many of those scenarios to see a sharp drop in participation as people have better things to do with hours of their time than sit and wait only to be told to stand down.

      January 4, 2021 at 9:41 PM
  • Empire Neutral

    Always a bit of a shame when the servers cause such issues. I cant really blame CCP, we are talking about thousands upon thousands of players in one place but it still takes away some of the excitment as a neutral just wanting to watch the show.

    January 3, 2021 at 10:47 AM
  • Lrrp

    Perhaps Vily wasn’t around in the good ole day of the black screen of death.If he was then he shoulda known you don’t try and jump into a system heavily loaded by the enemy.

    And I truly hope titans were not magically coming back to life.

    January 3, 2021 at 1:50 PM
  • Guilford Australis

    Even if the server hadn’t crapped the bed, PAPI was still facing another 100+ titan loss. They’re just literally throwing away titans at this point so that PGL can pursue his grand vanity project.

    I wonder how long Gobbins will continue to look at this situation and say, “I think it’s a great idea for PanFam to sacrifice a significant portion of its supercapital armada so that TEST can have the privilege of inheriting four new regions.”

    January 3, 2021 at 2:54 PM