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How a single click can destroy trillions – What damage was done?

September 14, 2017

Most of you are probably aware of the recent developments in the Impass region. But for those of you that are unaware, here is a short summary.

The region was/is owned by the CO2 alliance. In recent time the CO2 alliance came into conflict with the inhabitants of the neighbouring Feythabolis region.  This caused an upset among the locals. Both sides tried to rally allies to their cause, and parties were forced to pick sides in the conflict. Why different parties chose to join either side is something I prefer not to discuss here ( in order to safe us all from another heated discussion in the comments). Whichever the reasons where, CO2 drew the short straw. Most of the local powers chose to join the defenders of Feythabolis, and CO2 was left with only a handful of allies. Right after the major parties picked sides, CO2 members where aware of the fact that this war was probably not going to be a victory. Despite being outnumbered in a horrifying way, CO2 did what they always do, put up a decent fight. But within a few weeks, the opposing  forces had turned the tables against CO2, who´s own space was now under attack by parties CO2 previously viewed as allies. CO2 was forced to abort its invasion into enemy territory, in order to defend its home in the region of Impass. But there were plenty of good fights to be had, so CO2 stood its ground. For a while the Impass region was the theatre of one of the most interesting wars of this year.

At the 12th of September 2017 the war was abruptly cut short, by an event that practically neutered all of CO2´s combat capabilities. There are plenty of other articles and treads on what exactly happened so once again, a short summary. A highly effective coup, headed by a CO2 leadership member called the Judge (he may have had a few collaborators, but I’m not sure of that), caused the hijacking of the CO2 headquarter (the Keepstar in the 68FT system) and many other citadels in the region. These citadels where then handed to the opposing forces. An action that instantly ended the war.

How can the loss of a few citadel ends a war that includes thousands of players? Well this is a result of the way the CO2 alliance set up its space empire.  The Keepstar in 68FT was the focal point of most of CO2´s actions in the region. It was the starting point of almost every fleet, it was the local market hub, it was the place where people could get doctrine ships and it was the place where the transport corporation dropped off your gear. The citadel was such a convenient location, that it was the obvious place for line members to make their home. It was there that they had their stacks of combat-ships and ammunitions.

To cut a long story short, the Keepstar was the main battle station of the alliance, and essential in the defence of the region. By taking control of the citadel, most pilots lost access their supply of combat ships  and their way to fight. The alliance could no longer mount defensive fleets from the place. This may make you wonder: Doesn’t CO2  have any other ship caches, from which they could fight back, and regain their foothold. For several different reasons, no not realy. In august CO2 had been staging out of a fortizar in JI-, a sizeable stock of ships had been on contract there, available for most of the alliances fleet compositions. But at the end of august the home region was under such pressure that alliance members were ordered to move their gear back to the home system of 68FT in Impass. Most players made an effort to move as much of their ships back as possible. Of course a stack of fitted ships may still be there (not sure if that citadel is even still in CO2’s hands), but that’s hardly enough to mount a defence. Of course  players had additional ships scattered across the region, but those where generally not the mainline combat ships. Those ships served for mining or farming npc rats, which hardly makes them combat viable in the war. So no, there weren’t many other ways to keep defending the region. And as such, after the alliance meeting which was held shortly after the coup, the CO2 leadership came to the only conclusion it could take. Abandon the Impass region and the war. With a few clicks of a mouse, the ownership of a citadel was transferred and the CO2 alliance was in big trouble. One big blow ended a war that could have lasted for several more months ended.

But how big was the blow that was dealt to the CO2 alliance? How big is the killmail?
Well I cannot give you any exact numbers on this subject, as I don’t have access to any of the alliance wallets and cannot look into the wallets and assets of any of the CO2 members. But I can give you a summary of some obvious things that are going to cost the alliance.

First the most obvious: the citadels. Of course these where not destroyed, but by taking control of them, they were lost to the CO2 alliance. The price of the Keepstar citadel. A quick look on a killboard site shows us that not many of these citadels have been lost. These pricy toys are 300 billion in their unfitted state. Only a single one has been lost, that was fitted for battle, resulting in a whopping 900 billion ISK killmail. For reference https://zkillboard.com/kill/63507899/ . I can’t tell you if the CO2 citadel was equally expensive, but it’s certainly worth a  pretty penny.

Besides the Keepstar, dozens of other citadels where transferred to the opposing forces. With prices varying between 1 B (unfitted astrahus) to 22 B (estimate for a fitted fortizar), it’s safe to assume that several hundred billions more where lost in the initial transfer. There are a lot of other citadels in the region which did not get transferred, but as CO2 members will be leaving the region, these citadels will likely not be defended if future inhabitants of Impass will start to remove them.
By choosing to abandon the Impass region the CO2 leadership chose to sacrifice all assets that could still be anchored in the region. Which means a large amount of pos-towers, pos defences, jump bridges, infrastructure hubs and all the other stuff that will get left behind. Of course the price of these items isn’t all that impressive, ranging from less than a million ISK for modules, to a few hundred million for towers. But a quick tour of the region will show you that there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of these towers and modules in place. Which together are worth a good amount of ISK. I’m not certain if the CO2 alliance will/can salvage some of this loss, but probably most of it will be destroyed or disabled in the next few months.
Something I haven’t mentioned before is the theft of liquid ISK  and assets. In his attempt to get most out of his betrayal, the Judge has been stuffing his pockets. Who could blame him, better go out with a bang. As a high-up leader of the alliance he had  ability to grab pretty much everything  that caught his eye. Which obviously resulted in the emptying of the corporation and alliance wallets. I can confirm if alliance assets were also misplaced.  In a greed-frenzy, who can withstand a stacks of faction battleships or a few titans. The 300 (or was it 350B?) he got for selling the Keepstar is probably just icing on the cake. How much value he managed to grab? In a emergency alliance meeting at 13-09-2017 a the CO2 leadership announced that the total value was probably between 10.000 USD and 17.500 USD. Which at current plexrates quickly adds up to at least 1 trillion in ISK. I think it’s safe to say that the Judge won’t need to carrier-rat for a while. He can probably buy enough PLEX to wait for the apocalypse.

If the rant above has not convinced you of the enormous damage that was dealt at the 12th of September. Then you should consider that this is only a (partial) summary of losses by the alliance leadership. These losses are certainly large, but are probably similar to the losses that the CO2 alliance members suffered.  With the loss of the Keepstar, the CO2 members were unable to access any of their assets inside. Which as mentioned above was  enough to end the war. But the Goonswarm federation chose to put an impressive camping-fleet on the Keepstar ever since. By doing this, they effectively forced the CO2 alliance members to stay docked up or be destroyed. They turned the Keepstar into a death-trap. This is normally a good strategy, to keep enemies from using hauling ships to evacuating assets from the region. But as CO2 members cannot dock in the Keepstar anymore, this way of evacuation is blocked off anyway. As such, the camping strategy only seems to add insult to injury. Whether that’s a worthy cause I leave to you to decide. With the impossibility to move assets around the region, the CO2 members have little options to evacuate their valuables. Of course that doesn’t mean all assets and ships that are still in the region are lost. With the release of the citadel expansion asset safety was introduced. When a in low/null security space citadel gets destroyed, all contents within are stored in asset safety. To be later recovered by its owner. In case that the don’t get destroyed (which happens in this case) players can voluntarily activate asset safety, to extract their assets from inaccessible citadels. Normally the items in asset safety can immediately be recovered from another citadel or station in the system. But with the multitude of lost citadels and the continuous station camping other stations will be as much as a death-trap as the Keepstar currently is. That leaves CO2 members with only one option, activate asset safety and wait 20 days. If the assets have not been recovered after 20 days, they get wrapped up, and transported to a system in low-security space. It may seem that the assets are just being moved, and not being lost, which is true. But in order to recover these items, the player is forced to pay a percentage (15%) of the total value of the recovered items. And as such the killmail of the Judge grows a little more.

The amount of ISK lost through this ‘asset safety’ evacuation is interesting, as it is probably a lot larger than any of the losses mentioned before. At the moment I’m writing this article which is shortly after the coup, CO2 has 3800 members. In the last 7 days 572 members where lost, which is mostly a result of the aforementioned event. So at the moment of the coup, the citadel had around 4000 inhabitants. How much assets these players own together? Who knows, I can only guess. You could take a look at your own hangars to take an estimate. As I don’t like guessing, I asked a few random alliance members of CO2 about the amount of stuff they had in Impass (at the start of the war, just out of curiosity). Answers I got ranged from less than 1 B, all the way up to 600+B (stupid titans), with most answers somewhere around 50 billion (which is easy to achieve, when you own a super-carrier). Of course not all 4000 pilots will have such an amount of assets, as there are probably a lot of piss-poor alts. So the truth is probably less than half that 50B per person. But still, with 4000 members, losing 25 billion each, there will be close to 100 trillion going into asset safety. With a fee of 15% that means around 15 trillion ISK will have to be payed to recover these assets. (thank you for your attention Aurel Specker)

Whether you enjoyed what happened in Impass, where the victim of it, or don’t give a damn. In my eyes it’s quite impressive. With at least 500 billion for a Keepstar and over a trillion in citadels and space-trash, an unknown amount stolen , more than 15 trillion lost in asset safety, and the cost to rebuild the space empire somewhere else the cost is massive.
It’s fair to say the coup, which was masterfully executed by the Judge didn’t only end a war, but was probably one of the most lucrative and simultaneously the most destructive events in EVE history.

For that, I salute him. o7