Monday, November 4, 2013

Fortress Heydelies

What an EPIC weekend! If you've been following my posts you'll remember that we were quickly losing control of Heydelies. On Friday night it was in the 80% range and we brought it down a little by plexing. We realized that if our corporation was the only one defending it, and we were only on in force for a few hours at night, we'd lose the system.

I woke up on Saturday morning and logged in to see where things stood....99.6! We were ONE plex away from the system going vulnerable. (side note: Once the system was vulnerable the enemy would have to attack a structure called the "i-hub", which takes a lot of firepower. The TEST ihub bashing fleet is about fifty strong, mostly battleships, and it takes about 10-15 minutes to do its work.)  I got onto our corp Google Hangout and notified the group. Luckily Marcel (CEO) was online and he advised me to notify the Gallente Militia, start a fleet and generally get things moving.

9:12 AM -- Heyd 99.6%, Dust at 1.1%

I wasn't able to actually fly due to family commitments but I got into the Gal Mil channel and alerted the troops: Paskis Robinson, Terhiss and Sharel Lennelluc were the first three to join the defense fleet and I wanted to thank them for stepping up so quickly. The system actually went vulnerable while we were getting set up! Each plex captured changes the contested status by about 0.7% and you need to capture about 150 plexes to go from zero to hero, or the other way.

9:21 AM -- Heyd 98.7%, Dust 3.3%

In case you didn't know, CCP make a first-person shooter called Dust 514. It is free to play on the Sony PS3 console only (for now). Not only is it set in the Eve universe but the two games actually affect each other. As the Gallente Dust players strengthened their hold on Heydelies in Dust 514, it takes away some Caldari control in Eve.

9:31 AM -- Heyd 97.7%, Dust 5.5%. Our defense fleet now has 5 members. Paskis and Terhiss are in the general militia channel urging pilots to join and defend Heydelies.

I asked during the weekend why Heydelies was so important; I'd heard the odd comment about it being a big deal but I'd never asked why. After all, the Caldari are conquering a lot of systems at the moment and we're not teaming up hard to defend them. The reply surprised me: its partially for strategic reasons (it connects with six other systems) but mostly to do with how difficult it was to take Heydelies back in March 2013, then we lost it in April and just regained it on October 14th. As a player its nice to know the history of a system and participate in the evolving story.

The Dust level increased to 12.5%, it's maximum allowed value, and stayed there.

Around 11AM one of our directors, Ashterothi, logged in and began a marathon session of FC'ing and diplomacy. He negotiated with a Europe-based corporation in a neighboring system to come and help us and also set up a temporary truce with a nearby pirate gang. Pirates are usually in faction warfare systems to look for fights with members of either side.  Ash was on for twelve hours and by Saturday night Heyd was down to about 65% and our fleet numbered between 20 and 30. This allowed us to also deplex neighboring systems a little, just to keep them out of vulnerable status.

We found the Test Alliance i-hub bashing fleet on Saturday night and teamed up with several other Gal Mil corps to try and attack it. We chased them across several system to the Aldranette area, but they dispersed and avoided a battle. They had flipped at least three systems into their control that day. They had spies in our fleet that threw some fapping noises at us over comms too, which was funny, lets face it.

The fighting continued the next day, again with Ash doing a lot, but not all, of the fleet commanding. It was less intense on Sunday, possibly because word had gotten around the Caldari FW community that Heyd was well defended and they should try elsewhere.

As you can see from the killboards it was a busy weekend (13-11-02 to 13-11-03) but what it doesn't show are the new associations we made. We know our friendly neighbors better now, we demonstrated our commitment to defending our home system and we got several applications to join Aideron Robotics, which is always nice. And we showed a a lot of younger players how to fight!

When I signed off last night Heyd was around 40% contested.

Funniest moment: A fleet member returned to station for repairs and was confronted by a battleship. The battleship locked him and opened fire....and was melted by the station guns!  I wish I could find the kill mail; the battleship was worth 480 MILLION ISK! The fleet member got a couple of shots in so he's the only player on the kill mail. 

While searching for the kill, I found this one instead: our CEO and the CEO of Old Man Gang, our perennial enemy, shared a kill together. Gotta be a story here, or maybe just a three-way fight with an interesting outcome.

Lessons Learned

Whew! Where to start?  

  • My ideas about plexing in cloaked ships neglect the big impact that visibility has. 
  • A gang of five ships can dissuade most attackers, especially if you have a repair ship. 
  • Make your fleet public and regularly advertise it in the militia channel.  
  • Try and have replacement ships ready to buy. 
  • Take your fights INSIDE plexes, not on gates. The defender's advantage is very useful.
  • Everyone should have ships ready for small or large engagements. It took a little too long to get a big fleet together to chase Test's ihub fleet.
  • Commandante Chongo is a one-man Tristan army! What this guy did with a single Tristan threw us into confusion. Hats off to you, sir, and may your pod lines clog and cause you unseemly discomfort.
My video recording software, Overwolf, had the hiccups and I wasn't able to record anything.