Archive for the North versus South Category

C-J Falls :: 2000+ Pilots Involved as Multiple Coalitions Clash

Posted in Against All Authorities, Eve History, Fleet Tactics, Mercs, North versus South, Pandemic Legion on March 7, 2012 by Easley Thames

Tonight the C-J station came out of its final reinforcement timer. The battle in this system was not only enjoyable by all accounts, but also provides clues about the future shape of the North-Eastern sovereignty map.

By the time of this battle, RA had already moved most of their assets out to low-sec, as part of their announced plan of relocating to Delve.

Furthermore, neither XxDeathXX nor RA had an operation planned to defend the system. If that were the end of the story, things would have been pretty boring tonight.

However, aware of a developing PL / NCdot plan to upset AAA and Solar’s night of conquest, AAA called out for a full “red pen” CTA.

Given the numbers arrayed against them, even the mighty Tech Cartel alliances would have thought-twice about engaging AAA tonight, but this time they ended up gaining critical support from an unlikely source.

Whether it was a revival of the “bro pact,” or merely an attempt to mount a formidable defense in the name of “good fights,” PL and NCdot were able to get the support of the same people who helped murder their super-carriers  last week.

Source: kugutsumen.com

That’s right. This time Goons + Test + other CFC alliances fought on PL and NCdot’s side.

Some are calling this a nostalgic return to the days of the “bro-pact” between Goonswarm and PL.  While the leaders of both alliances do chat regularly, I think this can be explained in other terms:

  • PL and TEST have already been in cooperation for quite some time as fellow “Honey Badgers.” Many in TEST look-up to PL and enjoy working with them.
  • Goon leaders – including The Mittani – have a long history of cooperation with Red Alliance and XxDeathxX. Red Alliance was a part of the Red Swarm Federation, along with Goons and TCF. Among other notable pro-goon actions, XxDeathxX played a major role in the successful “all-in” offensive on Delve in 2009 under the leadership of Darius Johnson by attempting to heroically guard the Eastern flank against Atlas & AAA.
  • Third, and most importantly, this was the only way a real fight could go down in the system tonight, and everyone agrees that fighting 1000 people is far more fun than not fighting anyone on a Tuesday night.

Evoke and some other pro-PL groups also made a modest showing, but the major balancing force against the A-Team was clearly the CFC tonight.

Some expected to see Raiden on the field, but cooperating with Goons would probably have been too much for them to stomach.

The following list is highly abridged, since I don’t want this image to be any longer, but the total numbers are roughly correct.

The Cluster-Fuck Coalition (CFC) was hit very hard on their jump-in to the system by Nulli Secunda, Occupational Hazard, The Initiative, and SOLAR. These alliances demolished the CFC drake fleet.

A large CFC bomber gang was able to skip past the gate-camp and get involved with the main-battle on the station, but their presence was a double-edged sword, since bombing runs were actually a hindrance to the “Slow Cat” sentry-drone doctrine being used by PL tonight.

Needless to say, the carnage was immediate, but with Time Dilation maxed out (all the way to 10% with 1900 in local) things took a while to resolve themselves.

To elaborate on the strategy used by PL and NCdot, Shadoo brought in a fleet of approximately 140 carriers filled entirely with sentry drones. Each carrier can hold hundreds at a time, so losing a few waves to bombing or anti-support fire is not an immediate ‘game-over’ situation.

PL’s plan was to fight on station so that they could de-aggro and dock if the fight got to messy.

The coordinated sentry fire was theorized to be a good counter to just about anything engaging at ranges up to 100km. This seems to have proven true, given that they successfully brought down several after-burner Tengus at long range.

The fighting was already well under-way when I logged into C-J with my  dictor. I had flown over and logged-out the night before in anticipation of this brawl, and luckily I arrived in time to participate in the bulk of the fighting on the station.

Sentries were fairly effective in popping -A- fleet ships with coordinated sentry fire, but bombs and support-ships killed hundreds of these t2 drones.

It was an expensive engagement for everyone, especially since PL and NCdot were stripped of literally every support ship in short order.

The destruction of all hostile support allowed AAA and Solar (among others) to drop super-carriers on the station with relative impunity.

PL may have been able to match or exceed the A-Team’s super-cap numbers, but tactically it would have been a colossal blunder without support.

NCdot and PL were forced to dock when the -A- and Solar supers cyno’d in.

To the credit of PL and NCdot, they were fast about calling for their carriers to pull in drones and de-aggro, so only one carrier was killed by supers.

Pictured Here: PL's "Slow Cat" Carrier Setup

I feel compelled to mention that this was one of the best showings from -A- in a long time, with 400 alliance members involved, including a strong super-cap showing.

The alliance had labeled this operation as extremely high-priority, so it is doubtful that AAA Russians and U.S. players will be together on the same field like this very often, but it was nice to see what we’re capable of when we really want something.

It shows that -A- has a great deal of dormant potential that can be dialed-up on occasion, especially when merging its two major timezone groups into a single operation.

In particular, the missile spam from AAA’s Tengus was immense. Including all friendlies, there were over 300 Tengus on the field.

Back when T3 cruisers were introduced, members of my corp joked about a day when an alliance could field a full fleet of these pimp-mobiles. It’s crazy to see those musings actually turn out to be descriptive of reality in 2012.

With no firewall to block the incoming waves of heavy missiles, even heavily-tanked (and low-signature) Proteus and Legion hulls were popped without difficulty.

As soon as PL and NCdot docked up their carriers in C-J, the station was flipped by AAA supers, and promptly handed over to Solar Fleet control.

This may hint at the future division of the North-Eastern regions. Even if most of Insmother is retained by AAA, I think flipping C-J sends a signal that -A- does not care about expanding much further North.

More importantly, this battle marks the culmination of the AAA – RA war. The end result is clear: RA has lost, and AAA has won.

There will be plenty of structures to grind, but the most action we can hope for will be fights with opportunistic groups like PL.  RA has already fled this hemisphere, and XxDeathXx seems to be increasingly inactive.

I believe that very soon Solar will be able to declare a similar victory over XxDeathXx, thereby ending the DRF Civil War, but Eve is an unpredictable place. I will not jump the gun until I see who XxDeathXx can bat-phone to save them from Solar and AAA.

Two major powers have apparently lost the will to fight, and will have to regroup elsewhere, while two others have earned new territory after a long-fought campaign. This is what 0.0 life in Eve is all about.

Pictured above is the aftermath of the fight on the C-J station.

For those who do not know, C-J is the long-treasured crown of Red Alliance’s once-vast empire.

This system holds the same nostalgia for RA members as NOL once held for BoB, and this is only the third time it has ever fallen.

My corp has now been present for all 3 conquests of C-J in this historic system’s long history.

In many ways, the real story here is the decline of the DRF as a coalition.

Sometimes small conflicts can snowball into absolute catastrophes. Such was the case when XxDeathxX pissed off Solar, by taking the side of a renter over their most powerful ally, in what began as a minor standings dispute.

With White Noise existing in name only, RA evacuating to Delve, XxDeathXx flailing with no clear plan for the future, and WTF left adrift with no master to guide it – the future indeed looks bleak for this formerly fearsome group.

I have mentioned it before on this blog, but the butterfly effect – as depicted by CCP’s marketing department – is a real phenomenon in this game. Even small decisions can have immense consequences, and I would bet my favorite hurricane that XxDeathXx’s leadership now regret the way they treated Solar.

The DRF civil war was likely preventable, and it is XxDeathxX’s leadership that is to blame for the coming Drone Region diaspora.

One last topic seems germane to this discussion, and I feel this post would be incomplete without it. That topic is the role of mercenaries in 0.0 sovereignty contests.

Mercenaries are a great asset. From the well-chronicled adventures of  Seleene’s Mercenary Coalition, to the current influence of Pandemic Legion, mercs can clearly tip the balance in 0.0 – sometimes with frightening effectiveness.

However, when you rely on mercs too much it can lead to atrophy within your coalition.  You need to flex your own muscles as an alliance on a regular basis, otherwise they will eventually turn to fat.

I believe RA, XIX, and many others who benefited from their presence in the Drone Regions have put too much confidence in their hired help.

Mercs can be a great tool in a variety of situations, but the evidence available suggests that they make bad long-term guardians of sovereignty.

What is the State of Our Union?

Posted in IT Alliance, North versus South on January 30, 2011 by Easley Thames

Along with Obama, Mittani and Molle recently delivered important speeches regarding the status of their (internet spaceship) nation-states.

I think the difference between these two events reflects very well the current situation in Fountain.

To avoid any confusion, I caught both of these speeches after-the-fact via recordings (which are linked later in this post for reference).

Sir Molle addressed his remarks to IT alone, and was informal in discussing the current situation. He didn’t have a drafted speech, choosing only to repeat a few simple message: (1) we’re not running, (2) get your stuff back to Fountain, (3) allies are coming to help, (4) you don’t need to worry about what is said on forums, just listen to you CEO.

When Molle finished speaking, a Q & A session occurred where Molle growled at people for wanting to hear updates about their own alliance on a regular basis, instead of having to read about our issues from spies posting on Kugu.

I think the propensity to censor each other is one of the worst qualities of the “Old BoB” corps that was passed on to IT, and even the alliance’s U.S. timezone hero has recently caught significant flak for a less than optimistic blog post.

Our supreme leader seemed on edge, and when asked for clarification on various rumors, Molle responded with a Orwellian mantra: “if it didn’t come from your CEO, then it is BS!” At times, it honestly sounded like I was listening to children being scolded.

However, as a result of Molle making an appearance, people who had been quietly moving assets appeared to halt and reverse their clandestine evacuations. With a single speech, countless people could be seen in capitals jumping back to 6VDT.

It’s a real testament to how important Molle is to this alliance, and how much of an impact he can have when he wants to. Everyone was still unsure about the future, but the sheer panic of a full-on cascade was forestalled.

Unfortunately, jumping assets back to 6VDT worsened the situation for some members when the “cluster fuck” coalition and NC (if indeed one can make such a distinction) showed up to camp us.

Addressing a coalition of alliances including GSF, TEST and WIdot among others, The Mittani seemingly had drafted part of his remarks ahead of time. With little to add, Montolio and Tomcat briefly spoke in succession.

The Mittani’s message was simple: (1) IT is falling apart, (2) IT is evacuating, (3) Molle’s speech was degrading to his own members, and… (4) we’re going RIGHT NOW to go take 6VDT and hold it for several days 23/7.

In contrast with the Molle Q & A, this was not a discussion, it was a call to action that dove-tailed with a major coalition-wide combat operation.

When Mittens stopped speaking, a guy named after an anime character from the (truly awful) “Gundam 00” series formed up a fleet to immediately capitalize on the emotion and begin the camp of 6VDT.

Gathering the membership, delivering a rousing speech founded on REVEALING information rather than concealing it, and then channeling momentum it into an active fleet – I have to admire the effectiveness.

Apparently the "Anime is Cartoons" Meme Ended With Kenzoku

As for Bring Stabity? He must be from Rho squad with a name like that. Or is that not the ADTRW-posting otaku brigade squad? I never could keep them straight.

Regardless, the 6VDT camp has been effective so far. Most people who were docked have jump cloned, and those logged at a POS were largely able to get out, but some remain trapped.

We have not mustered significant forces to retake the system and – though people are still staging assets in Fountain – unease is slowly creeping back in.

Molle delayed an imminent collapse, and wisely made an effort to turn the tide by summoning allies for an all-or-nothing push to defend Fountain. I am sure he senses that this is a potential tipping point in the war.

However, we have not seen many major battles, as the numbers are still not there to do anything. I cannot help but believe that if Molle could play regularly, and lead from the front as he has done many times in that past, that our participation would surge again.

In the meantime, 6VDT remains very red. Unless people log-in and x-up with large numbers, it is only a matter of time until we are facing a Delve war again.

At a leadership level, the focus is currently on having fun and getting participation to increase. If we lose, we’d like to lose with a few good fights per station system, not quietly.

Everyone in IT can afford to lose some BS, and non-super caps are trivial to replace after alliance reimbursement. What we need is people to step up.

I think that we might as well USE the giant IT war chest while we still have sov. This is the most common sentiment I hear.

The Mittani picked the right moment to dial-up the offensive in Fountain. With corps leaving, things could not possibly be worse from the perspective of alliance morale. If given a month to recover, we might have repelled the initial push into 6VDT.

I cannot help but feel that Molle’s absence has been the cause of many of our problems. It isn’t all about corps leaving, though that is a related issue in my eyes. Much like Atlas, without our dictator things go to pot, but for entirely different reasons.

In Atlas, without Bobby there was no one willing or able to handle leadership. In IT, there are actually too many people who want to be in charge. It’s the opposite problem, but the results are very similar. We are paralyzed by innaction.

To their credit, the CEOs and FCs recognize the problem. We are trying to run ops and have been told not to stand down even if we don’t think we will win, if for no other reason but to get people active.

We are hoping to have fun for the remainder of this campaign, and most of us are holding out some level of hope for a hard-fought and memorable defense. However, I would be lying if I said I felt we had any notable advantages to rely upon at this time, and many operations have simply not come together at all.

 

Supercap Brawl in Z3 (again) :: This Time We Lost

Posted in IT Alliance, North versus South on January 23, 2011 by Easley Thames

The fighting in Z3 had just wrapped up at the time I started writing this. Having stayed up until 7 am to fight in this god-forsaken post-downtime war, I was  unable to finish my entry at that time.

Fortunately, this gave the boards enough time to pull from every corp’s API and ensured I now have a full account of kills and losses.

On a side note, IT’s kill-board may not instantly reflect losses right after they happen in-game, but they do get fed via director API from each corp so I really wonder why I see so many “IT NEVER POSTS LOSSES” local comments.

The reality is not everyone rushes to the board to post their own mails because they know they get pulled automatically. The same thing happens with kills (annoyingly) and I often have to wait to see a mail I’m on automatically get fed. But I digress…

This time things started out smoothly for IT with some sub-cap brawls where we appeared to pop more of them than they did of us.

Whenever we have reasonably close numbers in these major battles we opt to fight. If it’s hopeless it may not happen, or we may restrict the fighting to sub-caps only, but we would prefer to fight back and not sit on our hands whenever possible.

When the enemy bridged in capitals, we took the fight head-on and threw our own cap fleet (including supers) into the mix. Additional hostile caps cyno’d in on-grid moments later and warped down to join the fray.

The fighting dragged on for what seemed like a long time. Lag has a way of making everything seem tedious. Modules were reliable one moment and stuck the next.

I was in a light tackler this time and I buzzed around tackling ships outside the bubbles who looked like they were being shot, primarily carriers since dreads were in seige and supers are invulnerable.

I also locked up a couple targets of opportunity for me to engage solo but sadly my autocannons would not cycle on quality kills like this one:

The final result of this battle was not good for us, we ended up losing 2 titans and 2 super-carriers along with 24 non-super caps in exchange for 1 super carrier and 30 non-super capitals killed.

When we had all the hostile bubbles cleared we called for all supers to jump out. Some pilots had issues due to the patch’s change to capital navigation but we got the lion’s share of caps and super-caps off field successfully.

Losing 4 supers would not hit the corps who lost them very hard under normal conditions. The alliance heavily reimburses supers, and most corps have the means to help pilots replace supers. What is more disturbing is the impact on participation and morale this may have.

In this battle, two IT corps literally bought ONE PERSON. Two other corps brought NO SUPERS. It is not hard to see how we’ve been hamstrung by internal issues. Especially when you consider that the corp in charge of a key portion of Fountain bailed at the outset of this campaign when we were helping Initiative.

The alliance cannot exist for long if some corps are holding back when we go all-in. It’s as simple as that. Everyone who has good intel knows what this alliance is capable of deploying and we haven’t seen anything close in far too long.

Finally, as many have stated the reinforcement fleet from the “real NC” made the difference today. Dek Co is growing all the time with new allies from former providence holders, former-NC and everything in between.

Behind their well-motivated coalition that already feels like the war is a foregone conclusion is the “Real NC” that – while perhaps lazy – can bring serious firepower when needed.

Their last defeat showed them they needed broader NC help to ensure victory in a super-cap brawl, and this time it swung the other way. Looking at the titans who made it into the fight, you can see MM/RZR/ME made up 11 of 14 with Goons only fielding 3.

As for the tactical significance of Z3, the bridges to Delve don’t impact pilots deployed or with jump clones in 6VDT much at all. It may have an impact on the safety of logistics from Delve as well as “last minute” stragglers flying up for ops.

On a personal note – I wish I had whore’d onto some super kills! I didn’t get on the hostile Nyx (or any friendly super kills) because I was going after things that were not tackled. Also, my guns were stuck most of the time.

Chronic Issues Persist — Major IT CTA Is A Failure

Posted in IT Alliance, North versus South on January 8, 2011 by Easley Thames

Today we had a major CTA scheduled that was originally posted by Molle. This is something that hasn’t happened in a while, and historically Molle’s participation inspires more people to log-in than FCs they are unfamiliar with. Many predicted that this could be a turning point in the rather bleak Fountain campaign.

Molle did not end up making an appearance today, at least not on any character I recognized from his rather large stable of alts. Regardless of Molle’s presence, fleets had been running since yesterday, and we had an unexpected Titan kill just after down time. All signs pointed to a big turn-out tonight.

When it came time to form-up, participation in U.S. timezone was decent, but not great. IT + allies mustered between 400 and 500 of the 1400+ in local. With 900 hostiles in system and more camping various nearby systems, we were once again at a decisive numerical disadvantage.

KB Link – http://www.killboard.it/?a=kill_related&kll_id=243124

Well we ended up fighting briefly before warping off-field to a shared pos where the password was given to Fountain allies (and therefore our enemies as well via spies).

The DC/NC fleet warped right in with us to try to bowl people out. The supers landed first then various hostile fleets started warping in. Some were inside trying to bump people out while others sat at range.

The hostiles were begging us to fight back, both in local chat and by coming to our armed POS. They even went so far as to leave a single titan sitting outside the shields while tanking all the guns in an attempt to encourage us to engage them.

We absconded with half of our sub-caps through one of the gates, and the others left in system retreated safely via titan bridge. Our staging system was briefly camped after this operation and SBUs were put online in various systems both both sides. Most notably, 6VDT was successfully SBU’d and station services were temporarily incapacitated.

Goons also deployed some SBUs in Delve, presumably to serve as a distraction from PNQY. The Delve SBUs were killed before coming online.

What Went Wrong Today?

We were plagued in 6VDT by some of the same issues that have contributed to our other defeats in this campaign.

There has been a great deal of discussion about our target-calling in particular, which many find to be slow and/or illogical. Others have continued to question the utility of our Apocs & Drakes versus alternatives like Scorpions for those who cannot bring an arty-Maelstrom, which is the weapon of choice for both sides in this war.

Above all, when you look at the alliances involved in this war, the numbers simply don’t work in our favor. To beat a larger foe you need superior morale or superior tactics. We have neither, and that is why we are losing this war.

The NC and “DC” coalition have many more people to draw from, and there are have been several new corps & alliances signing up help them in Fountain since this campaign began. Many of those new friends have plans to live here if it is conquered, so their motivation is rather strong.

As always, Goons and those similar to them (especially Test) do a much better job drawing in support from outsiders than BoB/IT, which doesn’t have much in the way of public relations or cultural propaganda these days. We don’t even release PvP videos anymore, and external forums posting by IT members is very limited because most corps have policies against it.

Winter Break Is Over

Posted in IT Alliance, Killboard Stats, North versus South, Roaming on January 5, 2011 by Easley Thames

With the holiday season coming to a close, many Eve players will soon find themselves with limited time to play as their educational responsibilities and/or jobs increasingly interfere. I will be in that boat myself, starting tomorrow.

The common belief among many in leadership positions within IT Alliance is that the end of Winter break for many students will harm some alliance more than others. Ultimately, I think people are just looking for an easy explanation for why IT alliance participation has been so abysmal lately.

It’s clear that so far the hostiles have yet to meet with a serious setback since they over-reached by attacking C3N. Despite their momentum, our ninja SBU deployments have been at least a moderate nuisance, and we will continue to make holding space in Fountain a chore until we can do something more decisive.

Nearly all sovereignty-related battles in Fountain have been going badly for IT, and things appeared to be much worse this week than they were when PNQY fell. The latest example is the “fight” for 9R4 where we bridged in a 130 man fleet only to flee minutes later, allowing the formerly Talos-owned system to fall into TEST hands.

The current top-level leadership in IT is very, very cautious about the use of capitals. However, with surging hostile participation (often 2x or 3x our numbers of high-alpha battleships and logistics) it is not hard to see why we haven’t been playing the super-cap card very often.

Getting sufficient numbers online has been our biggest issue in this war. Hopefully we will soon close the gap in Maelstrom and Scimitar numbers with our enemies so that our senior alliance FCs will put the big toys on field.

On the bright side, when it comes to non-critical combat operations, things have been far less gloomy. Unlike battles over structures, roams can engage where and whenever they want. It’s also possible to score a “win” against huge odds by simply getting more kills.

The nightly -MVN- roams out of Fountain have been more fun than ever and we have seen a continual rise in participation. Last night in particular was rather exciting because of one special kill:

The fitting on the dead TEST carrier included dead-space and officer mods. Rather expensive for a carrier (although not quite as pimped as a super might be).

Later in the night we bagged a few more kills and spent a long time trying to get a fight by camping various stations to no avail.

After heading back to our staging system, PK and I dropped SBUs once again. Later that night, a seperate fleet titan-bridged on the enemies who came to shoot those SBUs, but most warped off before we could get good bubbles.

I believe the war for Fountain is long from over. Hopefully we will see a new surge in IT fleet participation, particularly from a handful of important Euro-based corps who have been bringing literally 1% of their corp populations to prime-time ops.

NC Shows Up In Force :: PNQY Falls

Posted in IT Alliance, North versus South on December 23, 2010 by Easley Thames

Summary of Fighting in PNQY

We had posted a 17:00 start time to allow enough time to move people from GE- and NOL- into Fountain. We actually had been running trains the previous day and a major movement of caps occured at 14:00. IT and some allies were the first to arrive in PNQY with significant numbers.

We camped the most probable hostile in-gate, well aware that they would probably bridge around us, but there were strong signs that at least one of the NC fleets was going to enter from the gates. At this stage I was the FC for the IT sub-cap fleet and the overall PNQY operations FC was focusing on coordinating with scouts & allies. Early on we popped 4 groups of bombers who kept trying – in vain – to bomb our a-hacs into oblivion. This was the one time a-hacs actually paid off in the battle of PNQY.

The NC bridged into system with a fleet similar in size to our entire force in system. They went to work at the station. Instead of warping to them, the primary FC ordered us to kill 2 of the 3 SBUs. If we had won this DPS race we would have saved the system. However, guns were cycling slowly on manual control and we had MUCH less alpha per volley from A-Hacs than the enemy maelstroms and drakes were able to put out.

We warped carriers (but not supers) to one of the SBUs to lend fighter support. Fighters did NOTHING, literally no impact in the lag they were not functional at all. It was then that the NC (at this point still not much larger than us) warped right on top of us at the SBU.

This was actually the perfect engagement range for our a-hacs, and I felt pretty good about our odds on the gate (not knowing just how many more NC were coming). I started to call a set of primaries, and the fleet went to work on close range targets.

Since we had some carriers stuck on field, I called the broadsword on top of them primary. Another FC suggested over channel command that we start with the Maelstroms instead. This was when a third FC abruptly started calling targets (even though myself and the backup FC were both still alive) and he switched the fleet to yet another THIRD set of primaries (this time scorpions).

We had discussed what to shoot ahead of time, and being undermined was annoying, but having stayed up all night to participate I was so tired I just sat back and let the enthusiastic european FCs take over. As each one died, another stepped up.  I would have done things slightly differently, but in hindsight none of it mattered since we were out-numbered and in the wrong ships for the job.

One weakness that quickly stood out was that we had an embarrassingly low number of guardians in contrast to the enemy scimitar force. We did kill things but we were not winning the battle. The hostiles were able to melt 2 of our heavily tanked anchor points, and their scorpions were a major issue for the few guardians we did have on field.

As the fight dragged on, the NC numbers grew substantially. At peak system was over 1600 pilots. We had around 500 including caps, who were warped off-field when it was clear that they were not useful in this lag. Only titans would have made an impact and the primary FC was not willing to risk them with a worsening situation on our hands.

The hostiles were focusing on IT ships the entire fight. Knowing this, we checked in with allies to see if they were having any success killing enemy scorpions. If we could kill enough ECM we thought we might be able to stabilize our logistics / rep-chain. The NC had left our guardians alive (since most were jammed) and focused on HACs to reduce incoming dps. Our friends felt it was going slowly and the our FCs posted in shared channels that we were going to regroup at a friendly POS to evaluate the situation.

It was at this point of the fight that primaries were switched from BS to tackle. We melted lots of frigs and other tackle before warping. Our allies were told we were warping and only a few got bubbled. With the fight not going our way, some serious discussions took place about our options. Super caps were ruled out again and the primary FC actually logged. Many of the FCs who had helped call targets were also either dead or absent when some late-arriving IT leadership asked who could take over the fleet.

During this time, the NC caught a small group of blues outside an IT pos that they couldn’t enter. The blues lost a few ships, including a damnation that was getting reps from shield-hugging armor logistics, leading to a hilariously SLOW death. I asked repeatedly on comms if we wanted to warp in on the NC support who were bubbling themselves on the POS, but the attention had shifted to getting supers out of system by then.

I don’t have a pic of the supposed titan that was tackled (must have been at a safe), but a supercap who was supposedly logged in POS before any hostiles warped in had been in jeopardy for a short time. Of this, I don’t have many first-hand details because the fleet commanders were split between the capital and sub-capital channels with very little global TS chatter.

Kill-board Link – http://www.killboard.it/?a=kill_related&kll_id=234729

Reflections On The Battle of PNQY

In my previous post, I discussed the incendiary and much-debated topic of 0.0 fleet numbers. One fact I highlighted was that, despite IT Alliance being the largest single alliance by a margin of several hundred pilots, the real strength worth paying attention to is that of one’s overall coalition.

The NC that repelled -A-, IT, ROL, Atlas, Init and others in MAX 2.0 is just as large today as it was then. I believe it has actually grown in membership among guests who see the North as a safe-haven and impenetrable fortress (despite PL’s successes to the contrary). In contrast with Northern “BFFs,” IT has lost -A- & ROL as allies, while Atlas has partially merged into Initiative Mercenaries without retaining its former impressive participation levels in CTAs. It doesn’t help that those aforementioned alliances are tied up fighting each other down south.

In PNQY, there were several reasons IT and our allies were beaten, but I will highlight one above all else: strong turnout from several major NC alliances in addition to the expected numbers from GSF + TEST. The presence of Wildly Inappropriate isn’t totally unforeseeable, but Mostly Harmless, Razor, Morsus Mihi and many more were in attendance with considerable sub-cap fleets. That’s not even counting the cap fleet ready to log on and jump in if we had committed our supers to the field.

Our numbers – as reported on other sites – include the caps and supers who were NOT on field during the most intense fighting. Hostile reinforcements were forming and spotted en-route to PNQY throughout the entire fight. The one blue group that made a late appearance was Initiative, but their numbers were not enough to tip the scales. Other IT allies had been on-time or early.

All sides were expecting a large IT supercap fleet to make an appearance. We moved over 100 titans & SC in the 24 hours before the OP, in addition to the ones who were already in Fountain. This projection of power was a double-edged sword, drawing in over 1100 NC with holiday dreams of popping dozens of SC or even Shrike’s 5th Avatar.

The NC had pilots from nearly every sov-holding alliance in the North with caps ready to go and ended up fielding several hundred more sub-caps. With a huge sub-cap advantage, the primary FC for this operation decided not to deploy supers. Carriers were briefly used before being called back when it was clear that fighters were doing absolutely ZERO damage to SBUs and presumably had even less chance of harming moving players as the lag continually worsened.

Aside from the issue of hostile numbers, the second biggest problem was that the FC had called for armor HACs. With limited range, low alpha damage, and a high level of reliance on logistics this was a very poor choice for the amount of lag we encountered. Our now familiar shield fleet setups would have been a better choice.

While some disagreed with the decision not to go take the supers onto the field, the fact remains that 1 station can be retaken. More importantly, this has been a morale boost for the Test/GSF forces (and probably the rest of the NC who have been forced to fight PL recently). That’s a victory that won’t be erased even if the station is re-taken, and it was something I was confident we were going to be able to avoid.

-A- Withdrawal :: The Last Straw?

Posted in Against All Authorities, North versus South on May 31, 2010 by Easley Thames

Following the withdrawal of Atlas and now (seemingly) Against All Authorities from the northern theater, many have asked when this “invasion” will come to an official end.

I placed quotations around the term “invasion” because, for the last couple weeks, the Northern Crusade has devolved into a mere harassment campaign. The NC are not even taking us seriously anymore, as evidenced by their attacks on Cobalt Edge.

Just as it began with Molle, he will have to be the one to turn the page and move IT Alliance into the next chapter of our history. The question is, when? Considering that we have enemies on our own doorstep, we certainly have good reason not to delay, but I do not sense any degree of urgency from Molle and his inner circle.

I can respect sticking with a plan and not running at the first sign of trouble, but I really feel that we’re only still in x-7 because our leaders haven’t decided what to do next and think it best that our pilots still have targets to shoot while they figure it out.

My working assumption is that we will be involved in the North for a while still. However, I think most combat pilots both sides (apart from the uninformed or irrational) agree that remaining the Southern Alliances lack a winning strategy and the necessary forces to accomplish Molle’s stated goals.

However, with change comes opportunity. The NC have continued to relax their guard and many alliances who have had to whip their member-base to produce a mere 20 or 30 pilots for combined NC ops will likely return to their previously scheduled regiment of Farm Ville in space. We have had several small successes of late, including a super-carrier kill, but I cannot help but feel that we are tilting at windmills.

So then, what exactly happens when IT / ROL / Init stop basing in x-7? Our eventual withdrawal will bring about a new round of warfare, that much is certain. Null sec never stays peaceful for long. While no one can be exactly certain how it will all play out, there are a few popular theories as to what might happen first:

1) The NC Pushes East:  Many think the NC will make serious pushes in Drone regions, which would create an immense conflict with Solar/XiX/RA/IRC. The NC has made attempts in the past, but this has never been a productive area for them.  If they fight in Geminate before moving further, Alliances like Atlas and -A- might also stand in the way of a group whose record on the road doesn’t exactly mirror their success in wars fought at home.

2) Coalition Pushes On IT Space: The NC (now including Goons) could join once again with PL  and others (including Dreddit’s alliance who have already grabbed some sov) to start another invasion in Delve. After the Max campaign, that’s exactly what happened, and history has a way of repeating itself when it comes to Delve. This would certainly be welcomed by our side, both as a chance to “give them a taste of Dominion from the other side” and to consolidate our own forces while keeping the same opponents we have now on a single front (instead of fighting with alts in two hemispheres).

3) NC Assaults Cloud Ring: The Goons are crashing on TCF’s couch, but they need a real home eventually. I think they’ve certainly become a much smaller player in the scheme of things, but they’re certainly worth giving a region to somewhere in the north. Some goons have said they would rather just live in curse, but the truth is they’ve grown far beyond the level of living in NPC space. The alliance is home to just as many serious-business industrialists and combat pilots who want to see their logo floating on territorial claim markets as any other major 0.0 entity.

In all three scenarios, the NC theoretically attempts to capitalize on its high morale with a quick offensive campaign. I think that, depending on the target area, the NC could face a test greater than the invasion of their space. Regardless of what happens next, it will certainly be interesting.