Last week The Imperium changed its sovereignty timers to run in EUTZ. Previously they had been running in AUS TZ, where we had had considerable success on defense for a while. The changes to EUTZ was billed as a way to catch hostiles running entosis links during a time when we could put more pilots on the field.
I supposed this worked to a certain extent. The primary bit of evidence is the kill boards, and Pandemic Legion’s stats in particular, whose killboard ISK efficiency is lower this month than even January 2014, when the battle at B-R5RB took place.
The flip side of this is that our foes are also strong in EUTZ and still out number us. So this strategy lasted for about a week after which we were fresh out of sovereignty to attract targets. Last night the few remaining systems in the constellation around D2-HOS fell and that was that.
We have now reached one of those possible victory conditions I mentioned previously. The Imperium holds no sovereignty, so we’ve lost. Right?
Reddit, the official forum of the MBC, is certainly celebrating victory right now.
But are we defeated?
Judging from pings and ops going out and systems being reinforced and numbers showing up for fleets, it certainly does not look like it. We are currently dug into Saranen and even managed to drop a citadel on grid with our station the other night.
In response to this PL dropped a large citadel, a Fortizar, on the same grid as our home station in Saranen.
We are in a state where the game as a whole is still figuring out what to do with citadels. At first glance, and this is my guess as to motivation, this gives PL a station that overlooks our undock. PL even declared war on all of the remaining Imperium alliances, so that NPC station and gate guns in low sec space wouldn’t fire on them any more when they shot at us.
However, this turned into one of those “tracers work in both directions” sort of things, where the fact that they could sit and watch our undock meant that we could also sit and watch them, either by undocking or by sitting on our of medium citadel, safely tethered and waiting for something to happen.
Meanwhile, our response to actually getting a citadel anchored and running was to immediately drop another citadel on the station grid in hopes of drawing more hostile fax machines into the system to kill with Hurricanes.
The Hurricane has become the backbone of our defense and any time hostiles show up in force in capitals or T3s or other expensive ships, we undocked in them in order to trade cheap, well insured T1 battlecruisers for whatever they choose to bring.
Saturday, when that second citadel was coming online we formed up in Hurricanes again to see if there would be another brawl like the ones we saw last week. As the citadel finishes building there is a period of vulnerability during which it has no defenses of its own, so anybody can show up and pop it if you do not defend it.
We were again up in Hurricanes and trolling around the station grid as the time counted down to the vulnerability window. However, aside from some hostiles playing station undock games with us… which included a PL Nidhoggur that managed to aggro and get caught by us, which was a surprise as we expected him to dock up pretty much right until he exploded… all was pretty much quiet.
Our foes decided to try something different. They had some carriers sitting off their citadel. When the vulnerability window hit, those carriers launched fighter squadrons to attack the citadel.
The big grid meant that we could see the carriers launch and the fighters on their way. (Also, the new camera nicely lets you look at anything on grid now, the 100km limit having been removed.)
We warped over to the citadel and destroyed most of the fighter squadrons as they arrived. Out of about 30 squadrons sent against the citadel, 26 were destroyed completely… something that, unlike drones, generates a kill mail, which might be helping to weigh down PL’s efficiency this month… with the remaining ones withdrawing before the citadel finished its cycle. That was the extent of the operation. We won another minor economic victory.
The response to getting a second citadel anchored and running on the station grid was to… deploy a third one. I suppose we will have a set of safe spots on grid now, because as long are you aren’t aggro’d you can get within range of these citadels and be safe as well as getting repaired while you wait.
Then on Sunday there was a ping for a fast form as PL had destroyed an allied POS that was on the station grid and then dropped their own tower there to replace it. However, they did not hang around to defend the stick as it went online, so we ended up forming more than 400 people in two Hurricane fleets to shoot that.
Nobody showed up to get in the way of that and so the tower went boom.
Then GSF dropped their own tower back in the location of the original tower and we hung about making sure that it anchored, went online, and got fully fueled.
Meanwhile, that third citadel kept on moving through its deployment cycle. The model fills in as the timer gets closer to the end of its count down.
I wasn’t around when that third citadel went live. However, in scrolling back through Jabber, I do not see a defense fleet being called for it and there were no citadel kills reported in Saranen, so I am going to take a guess that it went online and is now on grid with its two siblings.
I suppose the question is now “Where does the war go from here?” We’ve been removed from sov null, but still form up to harass our foes nightly and to fight when the odds aren’t stacked against us. Meanwhile, PL and NCDot, who have been sovless for quite a while, now hold sovereignty within easy reach of our staging station. A modest role swap there. Who will tire of this state of affairs first?