Imperial March: QueriousSarin Blackfist
The south is alive with action and we turn to Goonswarm Federation’s Sarin Blackfist for a report from the front lines.
On Feburary 9th, after a grueling five hour battle between Imperium forces and the members of the “Clever Girl Coalition,” the Imperium was able to secure the station in Northern Army’s capital system in the Querious region. The Imperial forces were composed of mainly of the KarmaFleet corporation, the Space Violence SIG, and an unknown group of costumed hooligans led by Asher Elias. Pilots from Brave, Pandemic Horde and Northern Army made up a majority of the representatives from the Clever Girl Coalition, or Queertron, as I’ve heard them called. Unfortunately, I was not present for this battle, from some of the accounts I’ve heard, it was some of the worst gameplay experience people have had in a long time.
Return to Querious
Unfortunately, or fortunately considering the above, I was not on the fleet which led to the victory and the claiming of the station, but participated in free-porting it on Sunday night, and in many other fleets during this so far, short-lived deployment. Imperial forces have been in the region for a bit over two weeks now, and for some of us, it is a long awaited return to an area which in the past has generated a lot of good fights and fun brawls for all involved. Asher’s group has been deployed here before, fighting the inhabitants with great success, and they were very eager to get back into their home away from home. Based on previous co-operation with KarmaFleet, against TEST in the Curse region, we were invited along for the ride.
The deployment target was kept hidden to everyone but leadership at first, which is understandable. KarmaFleet is full of spies. However, as we got closer and closer to our destination, the target became more and more obvious, and comms came alive with excited chatter. Querious is actually where I took part in my first fleet fights in EVE. As a sub two million skill point newbie, I was an EWAR vessel, trying to protect the Ishtars in Asher’s fleets. As a new player it was exhilarating. There were carriers on the field, and ships dying everywhere, and I was actually helping. It really got me hooked on fleet combat, so I was very excited to be returning.
“Massive fights that are light on capital ships, relatively easy on the wallet, and most importantly, fun.”
On top of sentimental reasons for many of our pilots, Querious was targeted because the entities that live there thrive on a style of fighting similar to that of KarmaFleet. Massive fights that are light on capital ships, relatively easy on the wallet, and most importantly, fun. The Clever Girl Coalition is filled with people of similar experience and skill levels of KarmaFleet pilots, and both have access to our “big brothers” in the area, and mixed into our fleets.
KarmaFleet was given several new doctrines to take in before heading down, so I was looking forward to some interesting fights with radical tactics. Nagas with massive long-range railguns, a Vexor fleet for general brawling, a Barghest fleet mixing cruise and rapid heavy missiles, a Ferox doctrine for POS bashing, and a bomber fleet with no cloaks flown with logistics frigates. Unfortunately, we found very little use for these doctrines. At first, our enemies fielded nothing or fielded more recent nullsec battlecruiser doctrines; Feroxes or Hurricanes. Between having to shoot at POS shields to trigger fights, and having to fight the battlecruiser doctrines we were forced to re-ship into the sentry or heavy drone Ishtars for most of our engagements. Powerful enough to fight battlecruisers and one of the best sub-capital ships to shoot at POS shields with, due to the high DPS and lack of reloading.
Our primary strategy for generating content during this deployment is to bash POSes belonging to the people we want to shoot at. It’s not the most glorious job in the world, but we have had success with it. Luckily, the Ishtar doctrine we have been flying makes this process relatively painless.
The first night that Imperium forces went out and tried to reinforce a POS to set up a fight, we noticed that after shooting it for an hour or so in our bombers and Feroxes, the shield was at twenty-three percent. Our pilots groaned, almost in unison. The tower did not have Strontium, it would not be reinforced, we had to kill it, which meant at least another hour of shooting at the shield, the armor, and finally destroying the structure. We were later told that the moon it was anchored to, was an R64 worth a few billion ISK a month.
After that night, we have repeated the process multiple times, shooting at various POS to generate timers, to induce fights. As a side note, we’ve yet to run into a POS without Strontium since that first one. So far, it’s been pretty effective at getting fights, no one likes losing money, and people like fighting.
As it turns out, people don’t like utilizing the Entosis Link module to try and generate fights, or god forbid, contest objectives. They are a necessary evil though, due to the nature of sov warfare at this time. The initial design was intended to create local content and facilitate fights on smaller scales, happening more often. However, for a group of 20-40 pilots trying to win an objective, the system creates a total nightmare.
We successfully free-ported the Northern Army capitol station using a Confessor fleet, combined with the new Tech 2 logistics frigates and target painting Vigils providing support. The fleet was admittedly made for actual combat and not for Entosis hacking, our FC team assumed that the former would be the case. However, we failed to find enough content with the main fleet, so, mobile depots were dropped, and soon our destroyers were spread out across four different systems, hacking away at nodes. The night turned sour shortly after.
“…a handful of enemy pilots were able to shut down our entire fleets Entosis operations.”
Between random groups of 2-3 interceptors, and singular EWAR frigates, a handful of enemy pilots were able to shut down our entire fleets Entosis operations. It wasn’t until re-ships for heavier hacking platforms and a second fleet was formed as guardians that we were able to make any real progress. Maybe that is the goal of the system, maybe it’s intended to be frustrating, irritating, and downright soul crushing to take virtually uncontested space. In our previous invasion of Querious, the same number of pilots, through use of tactics and clever FCing, were able to make much more progress, in a much shorter amount of time.
During the grueling fight for control over the contested Northern Army station, both attackers and defenders reported nearly the same exact frustrations. They were unable to split up their forces in any reasonable manner, thus unable to contest more than one or two nodes at the same time. If the fleets became too fractured, the opposing fleet could collapse on a weak link and destroy it, setting back progress significantly. The entire five hour confrontation was essentially two fleets contesting one or two nodes at a time, while a small gang of interceptors or destroyers flew around and destroyed unsupported hackers. It was a fight of attrition and erosion, rather than a fleet engagement. This led to massive frustration on individual pilots’ parts.
What does the future hold for the Imperial assets in Querious? I don’t know unfortunately. It has been, for the most part, a well received deployment. KarmaFleet has been able to field several first time FCs, myself included, and has been able to get fights, seemingly against people at a similar place in the game. Hopefully the other side is having fun too, and doesn’t mind us crashing on their collective couches too much.