Content of the article: "TEST Alliance ‘Dunkirk’ Update – Full Text"
First, let’s get the tough part out of the way. This past Saturday’s welp was a big setback. Coalition leadership made some critical mistakes and misjudged the situation. When the first battle started over the armor timer, there was no plan for what to do for a possible extraction if the battle went on too long, as it was difficult to anticipate what would happen for the duration of the armor timer. As such, a plan had to be thrown together hastily as downtime approached, all while continuing to call targets and maintain the battle. While we were pretty pleased with how the battle was going before downtime, fighting after downtime seemed risky, as we’d eventually have to extract and would lose a good chunk of titans pulling out of the battle. That loss would have made it easier for Goons to skip the structure timer and just declare a big victory, and likely would have resulted in the same level of smug you’re seeing now, and so the decision was made to try to leverage our larger titan cache and overall numbers to try to secure a full victory. By staying logged off we could pause the battle, move our larger titan forces down, and restart the engagement on our terms. While this did allow goons to refuel and rearm, we thought we’d have plenty enough of our own fully fueled and armed capitals from outside system that it would be a wash.
What we did not anticipate is how long it would take to get everything in range. We expected to be able to fight on Saturday at a time of our choosing, but instead as Saturday approached we still had significant forces approaching the battle. Furthermore, a large portion of our forces were from non-EU timezones, and knowing that the battle would likely last many hours, some move ops ended up being rescheduled around the various alarm clock schedules. The timezone restrictions ended up being very limiting, as even when we knew that we probably should get into the system before Goons, we couldn’t form our full forces before they could as some FCs and groups were still asleep. At this point the only choice should have been to stand down, but unfortunately no one stepped up to be the bad guy and really put their foot down, so a plan with way too much risk was put together and ultimately attempted.
If we had enough forces in range to start the battle before the State of the Goonion, we would have been fine, as both sides would have been loading the system at the same time under equal conditions, but unfortunately that was not the case. Perhaps we should have risked it before the State of the Goonion anyway, but one thing is for sure, we will not make a mistake like this again. We spent six months prioritizing server conditions over just about everything else, and we will not make the mistake of forgetting that priority ever again. This entire situation beginning with the armor timer was risky from the beginning, and ultimately we felt as if we were in a position where we could take that big crescendo battle that usually comes after four to six months into a war and potentially put Goons in a position where they could no longer credibly threaten us. This was essentially an attempt to end the war, but instead it looks like the war will go on.
As far as situations go, this is definitely a rough spot to be in, but it’s not without precedent. There have been worse situations than this in past wars, all with a variety of outcomes. My first alliance Nulli Secunda was in a much worse spot than this after BR-5, as with that battle any credible titan threat our side had was gone, as a majority of our coalition’s available titans were destroyed. As we evacuated our assets to a fallback station, the attacking forces capitalized on that advantage and hellcamped us into our station (old mechanics), trapping everything we owned in that station except for what we could fit in the SMAs of our carriers.
While that situation was dire, we didn’t panic, we stayed calm, waited a few weeks and then jumped out as much as we could, and then continued the war under a new dynamic. A few months later we ended up winning the war after playing our final trump card (disbanding DoD), and at that point the hellcamp seemed like a distant memory. This situation is far better for us. While we lost a large number of titans, the size of our overall titan fleet is still larger than Goons, leaving us with the ability to threaten capital superiority when we are finally out of the camp and back at full strength. Unlike previous wars, we live out of keepstars now, and if Goons want to do something about us living in their region, they’ll have to take the same risk we just took, and suffer the same consequences (though probably without the same mistakes).
One last thing I’d like to say is that my biggest disappointment is that we asked so many of you to take off work and make plans to play EVE, with many of you who had been inactive up until this point finding a way to make it to the structure timer that was on Saturday, and were unable to provide an amazing battle like the M2-X armor timer. For those of you who missed the armor timer, I can’t stress this enough, it was an absolutely amazing battle, and was the best large battle I’ve ever been in throughout my entire 13 year EVE career. Everything worked, everybody was able to contribute to the battle right down to the smallest subcap (though we welped a few legacy subcap fleets early), and for 8+ hours 1000s of capitals shot at each other with heavy but manageable lag. Despite what you saw on Saturday with our failure to load on a big jump in, when managed properly (woops), this game has actually gotten to a pretty great spot when it comes to lag in large fights. In short, if you haven’t played in a while and were expecting another fight like the M2-X armor timer, you will likely get that chance again at some point, and I can tell you from experience that it is truly an amazing experience.
With all that said, our main priority becomes obvious: regroup our supercapital fleet back to its full strength. We will do this by breaking out our surviving forces out of the camp and also replacing everyone’s lost titan. The break outs will be a tedious process over the next few weeks, and Goons will make some gains during that time, but ultimately it will be nothing we can’t afford to lose, just some ihubs and smaller structures. If you will recall, we had Panfam supers and titans in a similar situation after the UALX battle, and while we made some small gains, ultimately all we really accomplished during that hell camp of their supers was burning ourselves out. We are now on the same side as Panfam, and already they are helping us use all the annoying tricks that frustrated us so much during that time.
So, here’s the plan going forward and everything else you need to know:
What to do if your cap/super/titan is logged off in M2-X
We’ve finally finished making preparations for our breakout attempts, and we will now start the process of getting everyone out. One thing we should have mentioned more clearly from the beginning is that if you have a logged off capital in M2-X then you will need to find at least one or two times that you can log in right before downtime to check your situation. Luckily most of you still have cap boosters on, so you can actually cap yourself up to jump cap by logging in right before downtime and chewing on a few cap boosters before you come out of warp. We will be giving specific instructions on how to do everything related to downtime for this, but basically you want to make sure you don’t come out of warp and become targetable (15-20 seconds before downtime is safest for starting out).
Beyond seeing that you have jump cap and checking where you are, we are going to start pulling everyone who has a logged off super or cap into a private group so that we can more clearly communicate with you all, and will start the process of getting yall out a little at a time. Like I said, this will take a little while, and we may lose a few more supers doing it, but we will eventually get everyone out, and we will try to do this as quickly as possible.
What to do if you lost a super or titan in M2-X
First off the obvious, everyone is getting reimbursed. Furthermore, we are going to try to make sure that everyone gets an actual replacement titan. Now obviously we’ve gone through most of our titan cache, so we will have to secure some hulls from other places, but as I said above, the goal is to get our titan fleet back to full strength as soon as possible. To accomplish this we will likely be buying titan hulls off of inactive players as well as other sources. There are actually quite a few titan pilots who came back to the game just for the M2-X hull timer and now have their titans in Delve but may still be mostly inactive. We will be working with the pilots who may not have much time to play to make sure that we can get as many of our active pilots as possible back into titans.
To afford all this, we will likely be issuing some bonds at some point. Unlike Goons our home regions are still moderately stable and all of our income sources are still going strong. But with such a large lump sum being needed all at once, we will probably have to borrow against that income a little bit to finish off the titan hull purchases, depending on what the final numbers end up being. More on this to come as we still have isk reserves to work through first.
Ultimately, the goal is to get everyone back into Titans as quickly as possible, and we will do what we need to do to achieve it.
What’s the plan going forward?
Goons are riding quite a morale high right now, and we’re going to take some losses in the short term. As I said above, these losses are ultimately manageable for the time being, and by the time we have all our titans out of M2-X, we should still be in a pretty good spot. Obviously we will need to change the dynamic of the war, as even before the M2-X keepstar fights this war had already been incredibly long and exhausting. Our biggest problem before the war is that we were trying to fight uphill against some pretty brutal game mechanics that favor the defender immensely. We were ok doing this for a while because it was making progress and we thought we could end the war before we ran out of steam, but obviously we came up a little short.
Going forward we are going to shift to a much simpler and much more fun game plan that allows us to work with the game mechanics rather than trying to fight against them. This should relieve the tension and ultimately make things more fun and engaging as this war continues, and as a result will frustrate Goons to no end. In addition it should allow everyone in both TEST and Legacy more room to generate isk and just generally be easier to manage than our previous strategy was before the keepstar battle. In order to shift to this game plan we will need to get all of our capitals back into the T5ZI keepstar so that we can once again have a credible capital hammer. We will start getting our new strategy ready during that time, which will include everyone joining a new discord among other things, but for the time being our sole focus is on saving as much of our capital fleet as possible.
The worst part of all this is behind us, now it’s just about getting our feet back under us and then changing the dynamic of the war to something more manageable and fun so that it’s all still worth it.
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