[Disclaimer: Yossarian Yassavi is a member of Darkness., an alliance fighting on the Northern side of the conflict, but his opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Eve News24, his alliance or his corporation.]

This time the hype broke Eve. The fight that, was to determine whether the whole Goon deployment would develop into a a full-scale invasion, or be spun off in defeat as a “Just for Content”.

I cannot possibly do it justice in a single video or article. You can check out the background story here. Mine is the voice of the mere foot soldier after 8 hours of borderline unplayability, followed by several hours mopping up some of the hundreds of abandoned fighters left on the grid, in a mercifully tidi-free enviroment. So please enjoy the first phase of the fight, touched up because, well, We Are Groot, and sped up to illustrate for humanitarian reasons.

Local registered over 7000 characters in local even before the structure entered vulnerability. 500 Supers were undocked on each side. An important psychological victory for the Northern Alliance consisting of Panfam, GOTG, NC(dot), plus many more defending the Keepstar-class citadel (valued at over 300 billion ISK, not counting modules) came very early, as a cleverly embedded Northern spy lit a jump-point, or “cyno” less than 200km near the joint Northern Fleet the moment the goons ordered their carrier fleet to jump. This resulted in natural selection taking its course as the pilots who jumped to the wrong Cyno were quickly dispatched. After this, it was the defender’s task to win the space-superiority contest.

Ok, Who’s Tinfoil Hat is on now?

I was going to resist the overwhelming urge to smug here as the lag during this fight approached that experienced during the massive Hakonnen battles that occurred in Lowsec last August, the last time these coalitions faced off against each other with anything resembling their respective full might..

Then I happened across an Imperium stream, where before the fight had gone on for long, had one of the Imperium cool-aide dispensing talking heads droning on again with the whole “The Imperium didn’t want that Keepstar anyway” (skip to 8:24).

Will they never learn?  The victory was well within the Goons’ grasp, as even GOTG Coalition leader Sort Dragon readily admitted in an after-action chat in which he also congratulated the rank-and-file for what was a record form up for GOTG.  With The Mittani himself, who apparently uses Gram I’s, in system, chatting in local, after weeks whipping up his 30,000 strong “Imperium” coalition into a frenzy not seen since last August’s deployment to tribute… reveals the plan fact that   the Goons were hungry…. feverishly so… for that Keepstar kill. Whether their projected invasion deeper into Panfam territory would have proceeded much further, leving thier tier industrial regions in Delve undefended much longer is another story.

They had the numbers. They had the leadership. The starbase took more than 60% damage. Victory was theirs for the taking. What was lacking, quite plainly to this plain old rock miner’s eye, was the will. Had they fully committed more of their super fleet and developed a close-quarters capital fight, the defenders would unlikely have succeeded in gaining space superiority and annihilating the Machariel & Jackdaw fleets the Goons did risk within close range.

Let’s just face up to distinct possibility that the early loss of several Nyx-class supercarriers had an  psychological impact on Goon command’s short-term decisions. A little bird tells me that the Goon Titan fleet and multiple  dreadnoughts, the Kamikazie vessels of capital fights such as these, were standing by and were likely to have been been deployed, but after the initial double-cross, all non-fighter-carrying capitals were not deployed. Which, naturally, was a prudent move. How to know if there were more spies?  No one should ever accuse the Goon leadership of being stupid.  Even if the crass, often rude culture the “Imperium” leadership promotes in their members is as much a reason for the “Never Not Kill Goons” attitude prevalent in my neck of the woods as any of the exceptionally treacherous… even by Eve standards… methods that have marked their rise, fall, and subsequent recovery.

The argument made in the stream linked earlier was that “You never send your supers to the enemies high ground”. That just doesn’t hold any water.

Doing exactly that is what has made many a great alliance, and recently became a feature of the coalition to which I am proud to be a member of.  Yes, there are complaints that “You bring formups we can’t compete against”…. well excuse us for training into the ships required to make just such an impact!

The problem with creating a fleet of such vessels, failing to commit, is that said fleet is of little to no use when you never even bother to risk it unless when launching doomsday weapons at frigates in the safety of their home space.  Yes, some of these capital ships could be calculated to be worth thousands of dollars in real world money and make powerful chess pieces even if only used according to the “Fleet in being” concept, ie, using the mere existence of a powerful force to compel the enemy to avoid or counter it.

These vessels are designed to be risked. The will to wield them was amply demonstrated last week, when 3 NC(dot) Titan pilots gambled big (and lost). No one here will ever say “We didn’t want the doomsdays onboard to eliminate half the enemy fleet” but let’s remember the distraction prevented the very same keepstar defended earlier today from being destroyed days ago.

I don’t have any beef with the rank and file of the Imperium. I’ve flown with many survivors and they’re typically glad to be in a less cult-like environment. Even the most rabidly loyal of their pilots suffered the same creaking game mechanics and lag along with the rest of us, so GF to the soldiers. It’s not your fault your leaders think they can spin reality until it bends.

Speaking of, it’s pretty clear to my simple miners perspective that appears the Imperium Fabrication machine had ALREADY spun into overdrive before the fight had even started. Progodlegend of Test Alliance Please Ignore supposedly had anchored a Fortizar-class starbase (The next level down below the starbase defended earlier tonight)… and lo and behold! There is conveniently a pressing reason presented to the members as to why they need to skedaddle back to Delve, because “grr Test didn’t help us and planed to attack us with out backs turned!”…and not because they lost both the strategic objective and the ISK war in this fight and in the neutralization of their advanced-staging grounds in ROIR earlier this month. Now, knowing PGL by reputation only, I refuse to believe anyone could be that stupid? We are talking about a man who kept thousands of his Alliance members waiting while he’d rather go eat hot wings than face the fleet arrayed against him during Test’s foray into the North last July . To my jaded eyes, this narrative was cooked up before hand as a face-saving hedge to feed to the membership. What I expect to see come out of this is the goons will bash the offending Test fortizar, which in all probability they just gave to them specifically for this purpose, declare victory and either go home or find a softer target to strike. Crazy talk? Let’s not forget that, in the eve-verse as much as anywhere else, the biggest lies often become accepted as truth so long as they are repeated often enough.

On the Other Hand….

The fact is that the term “tidi fuckfest” would be gracious if applied in this case. I experienced 3 out of 4 of Hakonnen Fortizar battles. I endured 7 tidi-lagfests in the massive fights in MT02-2, as well as the Sotiyo kill in 83-YGI. Textbook examples of what can be achieved exactly when you take your supers to the enemies high ground. Textbook examples of risking valuable assets in an unpredictable game-play environment… That said, in this fight, it was as bad as it had ever been. We flat-out broke the game.

Today’s fight had tough lag. Fighter control was difficult, but not impossible. Pilots were unable to reload their gun turrets. I literally went across the street and had 2 cups of coffee and upon returning…. I had yet to lock the target. At time of writing, while semi-actively on a cleanup fleet which has so far added 4 capital kills and several billion more losses (Yes, that’s right, this is just part 1) in subcaps. Hardly  “The Million Dollar War” it was hyped up to be though. At the time of writing, while over 200 billion in Goon losses are populating the battle report, a mere 15 billion is registering for the Northerners.


Featured image credit: Razorien