Not everybody in the Imperium spent last week wandering casually down to our staging station in Sakht. Fleets had been active in Delve for several days, focusing on the constellation YX-LYK, and by Saturday we had already taken the system Q-HESZ.
But the first real test of the invasion wasn’t until yesterday, when the ihub, station, and TCU in the system 1-SMEB, previously reinforced, were contested. 1-SMEB was also the capital system for the League of Unaligned Master Pilots (ticker: LUMPY), which gave it a boost to its ADM, making it a tougher nut to crack.
There had been pings in advance asking people to show up and be ready for a fight. The first ping for a subcap fleet, under Jay Amazingness, went out at 16:30 and it filled up quickly. It was a Proteus fleet and I got out my Oneiros, which I had just run down from Saranen on Friday, and joined up with the logistics contingent.
Once that fleet filled another went up, and another subcap fleet after that.
We undocked after only a short wait.
We held on the gate to 1-SMEB and waited for a bit. Then a fourth fleet showed up to pass through the gate. It was a fleet of capital and supercapital ships, jumping into 1-SMEB for the event.
Once they were through, we jumped into 1-SMEB ourselves, then into 6Q-R50, and then into RCI-VL, where we set up around the MJXW-P gate, which seemed like sort of an odd, dead-endy location.
However, it turned out to be the right place, as the hostiles fell on us there, starting with the Pandemic Legion FC Killah Bee, who landed on grid prematurely and was immediately targeted. I even managed to get an ECM drone on his, so as to get on the kill mail. After that though, I let my drone take its own course as there were reps to be applied as the two sides closed and got stuck into each other. NCDot and PL had a T3 fleet, which formed the bulk of the opposition, while the locals, led by LUMPY, were using Gilas. On our side there was the Proteus fleet, a Confessor fleet, and Asher’s Cerberus fleet. Bubbles were up to hold the foe in place.
In the middle of all of that, a cyno went up. As I watched, a single Wyvern supercarrier landed on grid.
Time dilation was already hitting hard, so the capital fleet jumping in on top of the fight unfolded slowly. Soon, however, I was in the middle of a lot of big ship.
With the presence of a capital fleet on grid, the fight went from a brawl to trying to knock off as many hostiles as we could before they could get away. I even got to see one of the new doomsday effects as one of the titans We even got an official observer when ISD Lunaire Elois showed up in a Polaris Inspector Frigate to watch the supers in action.
That was towards the end of the fight and, as usual, a couple of pilots lit our after the ISD ship, only to find its performance envelope was well beyond their ability to catch.
Meanwhile, our foes escaped as best they could and that was about it for big fights for the day. All told, that was about 90 minutes of time from undock to the caps heading back towards 1-SMEB where they formed up on a gate to smart bomb the Pandemic Horde and Mordus Angels frigates and interceptors that were in the area. The battle report for the fight unsurprisingly shows the ISK war going in our favor, though not that much ISK was expended given the values of the fleets on grid. However, the totals and participants keep changing when I go back to look at that report, so I am not sure how far to trust it.
It did seem that the majority of the hostiles were not Delve locals. They must miss us up north.
With the fun over, the work began. It was time to play the Fozzie Sov game so, over the next few hours we spent time running entosis link modules over command nodes in order to take ihubs, stations, and TCUs.
There was a bit of see-saw on a couple of the objectives. At one point LUMPY was at 95% for the 1-SMEB TCU. However, they seemed to give up before they got that last 5%… though with us roving through the constellation in force, I guess I can understand why… and the actual command node objectives were left to us.
The only opposition was a gang of interceptors that were dropping on nodes to try and break lock on the nodes to slow things down. This was aggravated by our decision to use force auxiliaries… fax machines… for entosis work. If I understand correctly, we did this because they were supposed to be immune from ECM while sieged. However, this turned out to be only true for directed ECM and not area affect ECM burst.
So we ended up with the worst of both worlds. Fax pilots had to endure the capital entosis warm up cycle penalty both when they started in on a node AND whenever an ECM burst broke their lock.
Fax machines continued on, but there was also a call for subcap pilots to come out and run entosis links as well. By that point our fleet was split up by wings and sitting on nodes in a system where no hostiles bothered to show up, so I got out my alt. He happened to have a Rapier fit for solo entosis work, so I ran him out to our system and put him on whatever nodes were available.
With multiple objectives in play, coordination was… not very well coordinated. If the goal of Fozzie Sov was to reinforce the officious “spreadsheets in space” aspect of EVE Online, then op success, because this sort of event pretty much requires some master spreadsheet coordinator to run with any efficiency. Instead we had multiple fleets on multiple coms and people going here and there. On a couple of nodes I was running a fax machine would show up, having been assigned the node. I would convo with them and tell them to let me know when they had spun up through their initial cycle, after which I would fly off to another node.
But at least I was out doing something with my alt. The majority of our fleet was just sitting around watching nodes get wanded. As I have said before, this is not engaging game play. You don’t see ISD ships flying out to watch people conquer sov.
Asher, on his latest podcast, had some idea for updating Fozzie Sov to make it more interesting, or at least force more fights. But it seems like CCP, buoyed by the cheers of people who don’t actually engage in sov warfare and who, in some cases, seem to actively dislike sov null and its residents, will not be revisiting Fozzie Sov for the foreseeable future.
Life in sovereign null sec. We’re told get too much attention paid to us one day, and then on another day we’re blamed for the PCU drop because we’re not warring hard enough to keep people’s attention.
On the bright side, hours of entosis work… I spent 3 hours on it myself after the initial fight before decided I wanted to do something else for the rest of the day… did get us some ihubs, and TCUs, as well as freeporting a couple stations in Delve.
The Ministry of Truth even put out a song about the fall of LUMPY in Delve.
So the conquest of Delve seems to be off to a good start. Now we just have to hold what we have taken while doing the Fozzie Sov shuffle in a about a dozen more constellations.
My screen shots from the day collected up into a gallery: