So this week was Imperium’s campaign to burn Providence. There was of course tons of hype on Reddit and various other places for it. Groups from all over Eve deployed down to the area for insane amounts of content, fights, and the general mayhem. Mittani stated he wanted all the IHUBs burned to the ground within a week to test Fozzie Sov and concepts.
So what did Kasken do during this war? I deployed as a Lawn FC running the majority of US Timezone fleets… a total of three for this war. It was quite an interesting experience and I learned a pretty good amount from it. Before I delve into the specifics I will add a quick recap however.
Imperium Constellation Breakdowns
Lawn was assigned the two constellations on the eastern side of Providence in conjunction with TNT. As I did not pay much attention to the rest of the groups out here, I can focus specifically on what happened in our little area. Yulai Federation and Sev3rance both defended these constellations. I want to give both those groups mad props for fighting the entire time. I dealt personally with [-7-], and from what I understand Yulai was fielding 150-200+ fleets (combinations of Yulai + friends and 3rd parties) daily in their defense of their constellation. So regardless of anything else, thanks for bringing some seriously fun fights to the table.
Lawn’s EU side of the house got hammered fighting Yulai. They had full blown defense fleets, and did an exceptional job tying up the EU TZ. As a result, only 1 IHUB in that TZ was destroyed. I’ve only got the hearsay for those fleets as the whole real life got in the way, so other than props to Yulai, that’s the extent of my knowledge for there.
US TZ Lawn had a total of five us timer systems. Monday night we went out for the initial reinforcement. TNT organized and lead a “main body” Cerberus fleet, and I lead a Svipul support fleet and troll ceptors for entosising. The concept behind it was that the Cerbs could lock down B-WPLZ entrance to pocket system leaving out entosis dudes free reign to hit everything back there. We painfully learned several things.
Troll ceptors are great for isolated roaming and annoying null sec dudes. For a “serious invasion” they are pretty terrible. [-7-] did an excellent job of dropping quick blap ships, Griffins, damp ships, and various other annoyances on them breaking their cycles. Waiting for the warm up over and over was extremely time consuming. After flying the Svipuls all over, I quickly split off a handful of small groups and assigned them systems to defend. This seems like common sense with Fozzie Sov. Have several “squads” of pilots who are dealing with small threats. In theory, it is very easy to manage. Allow me to explain why in practice it’s much harder.
Not all pilots are Camel Empire / Warlords of the Deep style competency at piloting ships. Nor are all FC’s created equal. In a Fozzie Sov assault, I was personally trying to manage:
- Assigning people to specific capture points
- Calling targets, fleet warps, moving systems, and other normal FC jobs with the support fleet
- Replacing entosis inties that got popped with new ones
- Tracking who was engaged where by what
- Watching Intel
- Coordinating with various other comms channels and fleets
Now with time, tons of troll ceptors, micromanagement of Svipuls, and willing pilots we did entosis all the assigned Ihubs, stations, and a TCU or two that was not on a POS on Monday night over the course of a couple hours. The small squads were effective at stopping the straight Entosis ganker that would show on grid, or at a minimum would lose a ship to do so.
Fast forward to Wednesday night. We adjusted our game, as did [-7-]. Our entosis ships were upped to Drakes, going with a better tank and the goal of surviving longer so support can help. I want to focus more on this night because personally this is where I feel more lessons hit home.
I lead a Cerberus fleet Wednesday night. TNT had jump cloned back due to needing to defend their own SOV that had been hit while down in Providence, essentially leaving Lawn on our own at this point to hit two of the more heavily defended constellations in Providence. I had roughly 90 people, including 20ish entosis Drakes, and a standard set of Cerbs, Scimis and support ships.
The first problem… nodes. So many nodes. Mistake #1 was trying to do everything in a single shot. A large alliance that can field full fleets, and split up for constellation control, perhaps it works just fine. A smaller group needs to bite off more manageable chunks, or at a minimum understand not all contests will be won.
Another major issues, is Providence itself. I do NOT fault [-7-] in the slightest for abusing this, but they had stations in ever single system. At the start of the capture event, they had pilots spread across, and docked in all of said systems. Multiple ships of different types were in each station allowing them to switch on the fly as needed. For defense it worked great. Undock 15 Caracals, warp to node, pop entosis, warp back. Coordinated hits on entosis ships made it almost impossible to defend. Combine that with their own troll ships entosising untouched nodes, that we had to keep scouting for and ganking provided hours of harassment.
I did indeed once again, take some extremely capable pilots, hand them a few small guys as squads, and let them play anti-tackle. [-7-] stepped up their game, and started dropping larger fleets on entosis ships that the tackle couldn’t touch. If I left with my Cerb fleet to chase them down, their 40ish man Cerb fleet of their own would hit things on the other side of the constellation. I did not have the numbers to be able to split too much more and maintain ability to handle their main fleet as well.
I learned from the previous fleet though. I had help on this one. Another FC managed Entosis Drakes, assigning to various nodes, and handling requests for help. Eventually they split into a separate fleet and a 30 man Goon Harpy fleet came to back us up and chase away the smaller [-7] fleets that were hitting Entosis Drakes. Cards were played well, and [-7] kept harassment, bouncing different systems, never staying long someplace. ECM ships kept making appearances, jamming and leaving forcing cycle restarts.
I realized halfway through this fleet part of what we were doing wrong. We focused the majority of our Drakes in a single system targeting all nodes. The thought process was defending was easier since in a single system. I kept the light tackle bouncing different systems to try and find [-7-] entosis ships and catch/kill them as well. The Cerbs were positioned to block the larger fleet from entering the pocket, but they still had at least 40 pilots spread across those systems making it difficult.
I should have concentrated on specific nodes for targeted systems. The overwhelming amount of nodes pretty much made sure I could not cap everything, and if I had focused 20 drakes on every IHUB node for a single system at a time, we could have capped the IHUBs much quicker, shrinking the pool of nodes much more quickly. Doing so would mean less scouting, less defense needed, and more node control. The initial brawl would still be difficult, but once a system or two’s worth of nodes despawned, it would have been far more manageable. By the time we started focusing on all of a single system’s nodes it was too late. We regrettably let KBP’s nodes fall in an effort to make sure we capped the rest of the IHUBs.
It is extremely hard to maintain control in an environment like this. [-7-] had the ability to turn loose all their pilots and say go forth and cause mayhem. They could entosis willy-nilly all over, and have 3-4 semi organized groups ganking individual entosis ships. They also were able to reship quickly, reform quickly, titan bridge back and forth, and cause havoc. They played quite fair of course, as they were defending their home and did an excellent job using all the available tools. We managed to catch their main fleet a few times, inflicting losses, and slowing them down.
FozzieSov is chaotic, and the sheer amount of information being flung at FCs is incredible. There is a massive amount to track and deal with. If Lawn does an invasion, turns to me and says: “Kasken, run this invasion”, I will do a few things.
- “FC can I bring drake?” I will say YES… seriously I love annoying certain individual by allowing drakes!
- Start smaller, Lawn is not fielding massive fleets, we will hit a few systems at a time, or if we do hit them all, do it specifically allowing certain nodes to fall uncontested.
- Train additional FCs to handle the small stuff. These need to be FCs who are good small gang pilots, and can instinctively rejoin the larger fleet as needed without needing to be told what to do every step of the way. Ideally these are 5 man groups that can tackle, kill, and scout effectively.
- Implement a system of taking nodes that do not involve a main FC tracking each individual node and assigning a player to it.
It was a great experience, I had fun, got lots of kills, several fights, and some good times over the week. We also had some long, extremely painful fleets, and alot of “I know what I am doing better than you” attitudes in fleets. I don’t think line member pilots can truly appreciate the insane amount of info being passed around in command comm channels, plus fleet channels and jabber pings that the FC is watching during the course of fighting for nodes in Fozzie Sov.
The theory of putting out squads all over and taking it that way is perfectly well and good, applying it into practice is much more difficult than one would expect. Once more, props to Sev3rance for the fights, and their ability to maintain what they could. Lawn US TZ killed 4/5 in our assigned constellation that had US timers. Pretty Map. XHQ-7V is actually an EU timer.
It was a fun week, lots of fights, third parties everywhere, and a hella learning experience. I got to FC most of the major fleets, feeling very comfortable in the FC slot again and had a blast. I would definitely invade providence again for content 🙂 Mad props for the fights guys!
The Once and Future Lobster King