Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Winter War: Looking Beyond Catch

On Sunday, a post on r/eve reported that Stainwagon ordered a move from Catch to the LGK-VP system in Stain. Doubtless, western players will declare the war over and that the Stainfraggin coalition won. If the fighting only took place in Catch, one could say the claim is true. But the fighting is not just confined to Catch.

Here are some of the relevant points from the meeting notes:
  • Why LGK? We have good stain coverage, close to V-3, fortizar is already deployed there. It's NPC space and cannot be taken from us.
  • Start stocking the LGK market. We need it. Please put up contracts for CTA ships, and stock the market. Unlike V-3, your contracts in the LGHK station will never be lost, so you have nothing to risk.
  • In Feyth, SOLAR has started attacking our space. We have a backup staging there. http://evemaps.dotlan.net/map/Esoteria/HHQ-M1#sov is backup staging for when we defend Esoteria/Feyth/other space. Have a jumpclone ready. Burn a travel ceptor there and put a clone in the citadel.
  • In regards to ratting, Afterlife space in Esoteria is available to everyone to rat in. Everyone in SW can rat there.
  • Will we spam citadels in Esoteria? Yes
  • Are you sure we're defending? Yes. We're defending everything. Sov, timers, towers, JB's. They will not make it to Esoteria.
  • What about Feyth? Yes. I said we're defending everything. We have a NIP/NAP with Wings Wanderers. They won't hit our shit, they won't hit ours.
  • Why HHQ and not any other system in Esoteria? Better logistics, and only one mid from LGK. If Tri/FCON/xDeath push forward, we will relocate there to defend Esoteria.

I'm not sure saying that SOLAR just started attacking Stainwagon's (specifically Soviet-Union's) space is accurate. Here is the situation map from 6 January, when SOLAR WING had just captured its first station in Feythabolis.

And here is the situation as of midnight today.

SOLAR WING, contrary to the belief of some western players, captured the first outpost of the Winter War for the anti-Stainwagon forces, in R97-CI, on 5 January.

I should also add that Soviet-Union is facing pressure in Impass as well. Circle-of-Two managed to drop TCUs and iHubs in AFJ-NB and D-L4H0 yesterday.

One of the statistics that stuck me was the number of systems Soviet-Union owns that currently have at least one sovereignty timer to defend in Catch, Impass, and Feythabolis: 41. How can an alliance of 2142 members defend timers scattered across 41 systems in 3 regions? The obvious answer is they can't.

Another statistic is that Soviet-Union, as of midnight, owned 124 systems. In contrast, Goonswarm Federation, with 10 times the number of characters, only claims 90 systems. With a population density of 242 characters per system, GSF seems well adapted to take advantage of the Aegis sovereignty system. Soviet-Union and Stainwagon, on the other hand, look like they will need to fall back to defensible positions. Quite frankly, that's an awful lot of systems to lose.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Winter War: Switching Directions

I'm not sure how valuable keeping track of the fighting in Catch is right now. I have the feeling that TESTCO and its allies are posed to steamroll through the northern half of Catch, sweeping up all of the territory claimed by The Volition Cult (VOLT) and Against ALL Authorities (-A-). Given -A-'s performance, TESTCO may decide to leave -A- as a buffer zone and turn north and take VOLT's systems in the northeast corner of the region.

First, TESTCO needs to finish securing the systems close to its entry point from Curse. The invaders are poised to capture the last three sovereignty structures owned by Cold Steel Alliance in the EM-L3K constellation. The last outpost is currently a freeport and the sides can begin fighting on Saturday. An interesting development is that Dangerous Voltage, a member of the Tactical Voltage coalition, now owns the iHubs in 1P-WGB and L7XS-5. Is it possible that Tactical Voltage will reappear on the sovereignty map in Catch?

In the constellation of XR9-LP, TEST Alliance Please Ignore (TEST), DRONE WALKERS (WALKA), and Lord of Worlds Alliance (LORDE) each took the sovereignty of one system. The DRONE WALKERS faced defending two of their three TCUs as of 0430 today. The alliances changed from their previous strategy of destroying the iHubs first. Perhaps the invaders are getting overconfident with word that the Imperium has drawn back due to the unreliability of some of its allies in Stainwagon.

The next constellation that TESTCO and friends will attack seriously is N-OGI1. The invading forces have already freeported the outpost and reinforced the TCU in ZXIC-7 and may capture both within 12 hours after the publication of this post. Overall, TESTCO has reinforced every sovereignty structure in the constellation except for those in KDF-GY. The system is probably the capital system of Axiom Vocation Alliance and has an ADM of 5.2.

Outside of the main area of conflict, the invaders have reinforced eight VOLT iHubs and four VOLT outposts due to come out of reinforcement on Saturday.

Part of the reason for implementing Aegis Sov was to eliminate the grind of destroying sovereignty structures a month or so after a war ended. In the war in Catch, I don't believe TESTCO and the other members of the Stainfraggin' Coalition will face serious resistance until they run into the Soviet-Union held systems in U-JTBT. For now, I'm interested in how fast the invaders can clear out the north of Catch.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Break In The Action

Not much was scheduled for yesterday, so I basically took the night off. But given what happened in 36N-HZ on Tuesday, I thought I'd post a cartoon The Mittani tweeted out.

I should add the Against ALL Authorities iHub in 9KOE-A that came out of reinforcement yesterday was replaced by one from The Volition Cult. I wonder if that is a prelude to today's activity.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Winter War: Target - Against ALL Authorities

In the biggest change in the map so far during the war, Stainwagon lost sovereignty in five systems in Catch and the iHub in a sixth.

In the eastern constellation of EM-L3K, TEST Alliance Please Ignore captured the sovereignty in the strategic system of F4R2-Q. The alliance now owns all three sov structures in the system, although enemy citadels are possibly still present. TESTCO is still trying to dislodge the Cold Steel Alliance (STEEL) from the constellation, so far with little success. Out of the four systems the Stainwagon alliance controlled on New Years Day, STEEL has only lost one TCU. Perhaps ominously for STEEL, The Volition Cult (VOLT) currently owns the station in L7XS-5. VOLT has not shown the steadfastness that STEEL has displayed during the conflict so far.

TESTCO is not waiting to expand the conflict beyond the jumpgates of F4R2-Q. A serious push targeting Against ALL Authorities (-A-) is ongoing. In the constellation of XR9-LP, -A- lost sovereignty in 4 systems: 2 to the Drone Walkers, 1 to TEST, and 1 to Lord of Worlds Alliance. TESTCO also reinforced the outpost in ZXIC-7, adjacent to both F4R2-Q and the XR9-LP constellation.

The pressure is also coming from the west, with not only HED-GP, but the -A- iHubs between Catch's gateway to highsec and TESTCO's newly purchased fortizar in 36N-HZ also placed in a reinforced state. The attackers position in 36N-HZ was also strengthened when Triumvirate. captured the iHub in the system. The Triumvirate. move put Vanguard Coalition on the map for the first time in the war.

In an amusing note, a major 300 billion ISK fight occurred due to at least one, if not two, titan pilots jumping into 36N-HZ instead of bridging, In the ensuing fight, both sides lost a titan, with the Imperium winning the field by dropping a fleet of 20 titans, 51 supercarriers, and over 100 dreadnaughts into the system.

The only counter-move visible on the sov map is the reinforcement of the iHub in the Stainwagon staging system of V-3YG7. I'm not sure if the system is still the staging system as I understand Stainwagon removed much of its ships and supplies from the system's outpost during last weekend's fighting. Stainwagon reportedly does have a fortizar in-system, so the defenders still have a solid base to fight from.

The situation went downhill rapidly after Stainwagon lost the iHub in V-3YG7. The Imperium is still active in the region, although I don't know how far they will attempt to project their power. Will the Imperium attempt to aid VOLT, or will it draw in and only protect the space of Soviet-Union? I do expect a sharp fight over HED-GB along with a collapse of -A- sov in eastern Catch. Beyond that I have no idea what the future holds.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Winter War: Down To Cold Steel

The big news in the winter war in Catch yesterday was the capture of the outpost in F4R2-Q by TESTCO. TEST Alliance Please Ignore now owns both the outpost and the iHub in the system.

TESTCO and its allies still have a lot of work to do if they want to dig Stainwagon forces, mainly Cold Steel Alliance (STEEL), out of the EM-L3K constellation. I don't see TESTCO evicting STEEL from the constellation before the weekend.

Based on the entosis activity, I believe TESTCO will attempt to expand westward over the next week. TEST dropped a TCU in J-ODE7, taking sov from Against ALL Authorities (-A-). -A- seems the weakest member of Stainwagon at this time and has dropped sov in five systems. A move to take ZXIC-7 is likely as the outpost in the system is currently reinforced. TESTCO may need to take care or they may accidentally take a sov structure.

Action continues in Feythabolis, but no sov structures changed hands yesterday. The map in yesterday's post shows today's action. The Drone Region Federation is targeting outposts, even managing to freeport the station in BGN1-O. In addition to the fight in BGN1-O, three other outposts come out of reinforcement today.

A major problem for Stainwagon is if TESTCO breaks out of the EM-L3K constellation, they may sweep westward and take northern Catch relatively quickly. The Imperium will want to help stop TESTCO and the DRF from taking all of Catch, if only to keep them more than two jumps away from Delve. The question is, how far forward can the allies keep TESTCO from advancing?

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Winter War: A Busy Weekend

The past weekend was a relatively busy weekend for this winter's war in the south of EVE Online. Let's take a look.

Stainwagon began the weekend by finally clearing out the remains of Tactical Voltage from the constellation of BRP2-K in southern Catch on Saturday. Not only does the removal of the coalition remove an impediment to Imperium travel between Delve and the front lines in Catch, but Soviet-Union gained the constellation with the best true-sec in the region. The average true-sec in the 7 system constellation is -0.84.

Perhaps the biggest news occurred Saturday in the Stainwagon staging system of V-3YG7 when TESTCO, assisted by a large Drone Region Federation force, took down the Against ALL Authorities iHub and replaced the structure with one owned by Circle-Of-Two. Not only do iHubs aid in increasing a system's Activity Defense Modifier, but also allow the deployment of jump bridges. Reports indicate that V-3YG7 was part of Stainwagon's jump bridge system linking central Catch to the border system of HED-GP.

Whatever the reason, the destruction of the V-3YG7 iHub seemed to invigorate TESTCO. Shortly after the iHub battle, TESTCO and allies won the timer for the outpost in F4R2-Q, putting the outpost into freeport mode. On Sunday, TESTCO continued to make gains in the EM-L3K constellation, finally taking sov away from Cold Steel Alliance in 1P-WGB.

Reports from r/eve also indicate that TEST Alliance Please Ignore acquired a fortizar from The Volition Cult (VOLT). One of TEST's main fleet commanders, progodlegend, published a screenshot of a TEST fortizar in the system of 36N-HZ. The story is that TEST purchased the medium-sized citadel from VOLT member corporation Unsung Heroes, after which the corporation was kicked from the alliance. Dotlan shows that Unsung Heroes no longer is a member of VOLT, leaving the alliance at 8 January at 22:59. 36N-HZ is centrally located 3 systems north of V-3YG7 and 4 systems east of HED-GP.

In a related bit of news, Just let it happen, a member of the TESTCO-allied Foxtopus Coalition, lost three titans in Hedgiviter in lowsec Heimatar. Imperium news reported that the titans were probably headed toward their space in Tenal.

TESTCO's allies conducted entosis harassment in both Tenerifis and Impass over the weekend with little effect. The DRF activity led by SOLAR FLEET in Feythabolis is a little more serious. The alliance managed to hold onto its outpost in R97-CI and destroyed a Soviet-Union iHub in SWBV-2 in the early hours of Saturday. On Sunday, DRF-led forces freeported the Wings Wanderers outpost in BGN1-O.

I do begin to wonder about the fighting in Catch. If TESTCO finally manages to take F4R2-Q, will resistance crumble until the forces get to central Catch? The most desirable systems in the region are found in the west and southwest. I can't imagine Stainwagon would stop fighting so soon given that its control of the neighboring regions depends in large part on holding Catch. I hope to see Aegis Sov played out to see if the system truly works in a major war.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Winter War: More Russians Are Coming And Freeports

I didn't expect to write much today on the war. The big battles usually occur on weekends. Then I opened up the map for Feythabolis on break yesterday ... and, oh my!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Winter War: The 55 Billion ISK Wyvern

No sovereignty structures changed hands in the strategically located system of F4R2-Q yesterday. A lack of offensive success do not mean no action occured. Dotlan showed that between 0500 4 January and 0500 5 January, 1293 ships died in the system and the adjoining system of 1P-WGB. Perhaps the most significant event occurred in 1P-WGB as an Imperium fleet attempted to kill a TEST Wyvern-class supercarrier that wandered too far from the mooring's of an Astrahus-class citadel.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Winter War: Sides Chosen And Plates Of Spam

When I opened up Dotlan to check on the situation in Catch during lunch yesterday, the following site greeted me.

Okay, perhaps a slight exaggeration, but not by much. The image may even invoke amusement from those that don't have to clean up the mess (or document the activity on maps). Speaking of maps, before continuing on to the map of Catch, I need to explain the political changes that impact the landscape.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Winter War: Force Projection And Entosis Spam

On Sunday, Stainwagon and Imperium forces prevented TESTCO from deploying two Fortizar-class citadels in the system of F4R2-Q. While I have not seen a battle report, the Imperium reportedly lost 4 supercarriers and 40 dreadnaughts in the system.