While the battle for 9-4RP2 may not have become the $1 million grudge match that we hoping for, it doesn’t mean that it’s not still on the cards. Yesterday’s skirmish showed what’s at stake: two of Eve’s largest alliances fielded a collective force of more than 6,000 pilots. The largest ever deployment of forces in Eve’s history.
CCP’s community managers Sveinn ‘CCP Guard’ Kjarval and Paul ‘CCP Falcon’ Elsy explained to us how The Imperium’s assault last night worked but also how they might be able to succeed if they try again.
Last night’s battle had a lot of troops in the field but they weren’t actually all that close to one another. The attacking Imperium used ranged tactics to try and keep troop losses down.
“The Imperium had a couple of fortizars anchored a couple of thousand kilometers away from the target keepstar,” Elsy explains. “What they were doing was using these two fortizars, which are smaller versions of a keepstar, as cover.”
The fleet was made up of a tonne of super carriers, all sitting protected within the fortizars defenses. The fleet was actually 1,000km away from the target keepstar. From there they launched wave after wave of fighters at the keepstar, piling on the damage from a distance.
The problem came from the time dilation and issues with people disconnecting from the battle, bugging out from the servier. “What they couldn't do, because of heavy server load, was they couldn't relaunch new waves of fighters when their fighters were destroyed,” Elsy says. “So that 40 second gap that they were talking about [on Reddit]. That gap was them not being able to continually apply the DPS (damage-per-second) and that's what then caused the structure to repair itself and become invulnerable.”
Once the keepstar became invulnerable they armies had to either change up their tactics, committing more ships to the battle, or pull out.
But, as Elsy says, that would have been “a really ballsy move”. They could have done, what the community calls dread bombing. That would mean jumping a fleet of dreadnoughts right on top of the keepstar and attacking the thing in much closer range. “With focused damage from turrets on dreadnoughts [they could have] completely obliterated the thing in one go,” Elsy says. “That would have meant putting a lot of assets on the field and potentially losing hundreds, potentially, four, five, six hundred dreadnoughts, which is a sizeable amount. You're talking real world value, several hundred thousand dollars.”
Even then, Kjarval says, “it's still not a guaranteed outcome.”
There are two more opportunities for The Imperium to attack the keeptar. When the station’s shield timer runs out on January 29 and again when its armour timer runs down on January 30th.
“It will be interesting to see where they go with tactics,” Elsy says. “They've tried one approach and if things get a little more desperate or people just say ‘Screw it, I want to go in and finish the fight and give these guys a bloody nose’ they might end up just diving in, going all out, and committing to a huge brawl. That's when you get these big moments where $300,000 - $500,000 worth of equipment gets destroyed.
“From my point of view, at least looking from the sidelines, I want to see a lot of destruction. It drives the economy, it keeps things fresh. Even the guys on the ground who aren't part of the fight - all the people who are salvaging, all the guys who are manufacturing to produce these fleets, combat pilots that actually fly them - it gives them something to do, a little bit of extra work to dive into. It keeps Tranquility active.”