Fade Incursion: The End of the BeginningDysphonia Fera
Just over a month ago, I wrote an article detailing the initial announcement and events of Pandemic Horde’s Fade incursion; joining Psychotic Tendencies (TISHU) in making the game as un-fun as they could for Space Monkey’s Alliance (SMA). The reasons for doing so were different for each alliance. We’ll begin by taking a look at the stated goals in Horde’s initial announcement, and how they evolved.
The first stated goal was a reduction in SMA’s member count. In the time since the announcement, the member count has dropped by around 1000 members, bringing SMA down to just below 3,400. Several leaks posted to reddit indicated that amoung this number were long term members and at least one FC, although it is entirely false for me to make you think all of that number were “useful” members, the reality is SMA had some of their fat trimmed, as well as losing good men.
As an anecdotal aside not entirely related to member count, we can see that SMA’s fleet numbers both in their own fleets, and in Imperium-wide fleets have decreased. From over one hundred pilots in the “Content Ring” in December, to being by far the worst represented Imperium alliance in the recent 2DWM-2 2000 man brawl. Of course, Vale is a slightly longer trek for SMA, and that factor should be considered before taking these numbers at face value.
The second goal was twofold: the reduction of activity defence multipliers, and the eventual removal of SMA sov. Within the first week there was a drastic decrease in ADMs in Fade, specifically in the two targeted constellations, making entosising the systems take considerably less time.
The net result of these reductions in ADMs was that timers were created daily by Horde. The issue for the attacking forces was that each night, when the systems came out of reinforcement, they would face a superior force numerically. However, this did not deter the attackers, who would form small ships and kill any stragglers from the large defensive fleets, as well as anyone who would be entosising on their own. Due to this, the defensive forces had to ball up into each system where command nodes would spawn, leaving 100+ pilots a night watching one or two people entosising the nodes while not doing very much else. These tactics were very effective as a method of fighting vastly out-numbered. The nodes would require SMA entosis ships only to defend them, as if one of their allies did so, it would count as an attacking victory. Due to the reduction in SMA fleet numbers, on several occasions the wider Imperium would spend a more than inconsiderable amount of time.
As part of the offensive, cloaky camping was employed by Horde. By swelling the numbers in local chat of each targeted system, it made performing mining and ratting activities incredbly difficult for SMA, as they would never know if they were going to be tackled and killed. These numbers peaked at around 200 over the two constellation, reducing steadily over the four weeks of the deployment, being sub 100 after the two-week mark. We also saw SMA form more concerted efforts to maintain and raise their ADMs with militarised ratting fleets; total NPC kills remained unimpressive, but much better than the sub 100 for the entire region we saw for the first week.
However, towards the end of the month-long campaign, reinforcements began to arrive. Pandemic Legion deployed north, and the early birds to the forthcoming northern war. With timers over lowsec money moons drawing hundreds of pilots at any one time, Horde took this as an opportunity to have a few players reinforce large swathes of SMA sov. Initially remaining unsuccessful, in their final week a few ihubs were lost, along with the C8-CHY station being freeported during a large scale fight in D06 & U-I, with both sides trading roughly equally, despite the numerical advantage of the defenders. Not the most stellar of victories, however, against the numbers and organisation of the Imperium forces. During this time, Imperium money moons were hit, they lost some, saved some, and some large scale 10% TiDi fights took place. Generally, Imperium forces faring slightly worse off than others, as well as an exceptional loss of several Circle of Two titans in lowsec.
The invasion showed the capabilities of a well organised guerrilla war against a stronger force, completely shutting down day-to-day activities for the SMA line member. It also showed that with the sovreigninty changes, fighting against superior numbers will continue to be very difficult for the attacking force.
We saw a reduction in numbers for both alliances throughout the four weeks. The repetition of the reinforce and save dance slowly sapped the numbers of both the defensive and attacking sides. This brings to mind a quote from Sort Dragon from the most recent CSM minutes: “Entosising is boring, but watching someone else Entosis is even more boring.
The Entosis Module
A lot has been said in the past month about how fun the entosis sovereignty system is for the players involved, some with merit, some because people were irritated at having to do things differently, and some because some people have no experience or knowledge of the system.
The one thing that should be patently obvious to everyone involved is that sov wars cannot be fought as they used to.We have seen that smaller groups can be effective in the grand scheme of a sov war; with the removal of DPS requirements on taking sov structures, it allows for more skirmishes around any large fights that occurred. We also saw that an alliance cannot rely on allies to save their space for them, due to the requirement that any defensive entosising is done by the defending alliance. This allowed for continuous killing of any entosis ships to create a dearth of effective defence, forcing fleets to sit on single nodes, or bring large numbers of ships with an entosis module. I expect to see continuing innovation when it comes to these mechanics, as it is obvious that strategies are not yet optimized, despite certain claims about best practice.
The Fire Rises
The true impact of this incursion cannot be measured in systems taken, or ships killed. These are both aspects to consider, and most certainly to shitpost about on reddit, but the fallout from these is miniscule compared to how the incursion progressed. Towards the end of the month, other forces moved to the north. Too numerous to list (And I fear I’d forget one or some of them), they have begun to work together in a loose coalition that has been given several names. My favourites of which are the “Moneybadger Coalition”, and the “Planned Parenthood Coalition”. The main theatre of operations has shifted towards Vale of the Silent, with many attackers staging in and around Akora. This has a very strong potential to escalate to a great war. I remain slightly sceptical, but with each passing day I have more and more hope.
The Fade incursion leaves behind it a lasting legacy, not necessary for what was achieved, but for bringing to the forefront how to fight a protracted war under entosis sov, and for the fallout that it left in its wake.