Posted Tue, Feb 05, 2013 by The Mittani
FC Error, Titan Attendance: Before the Asakai engagement began, CFC forces moved to a staging system in Tribute within range of Asakai. The op only required supercarriers, hictors, support carriers and subcapitals, but the FC announced that Titans were invited on the op, and fifteen had assembled in the Tribute staging system. A Titan should never be in lowsec; it cannot use its primary weapon, the doomsday, rendering it nothing more than a very large, vulnerable, and expensive Dreadnaught - a 90 billion isk source of dps. A sieged dreadnaught does comparable dps and costs only 3 billion isk. When the battle was joined and things began to go wrong, the FC called for ever-more CFC Titans to join in Asakai, eventually seeing 28 CFC Titans in Asakai. The only proper number would have been zero.
FC Error, Titan Bridge: This is the error everyone knows of: despite CCP having moved the “Jump” and “Bridge” buttons far away from one another on the context menu, the CFC fleet commander accidentally sent his Leviathan into Asakai instead of bridging in his support fleet. He then panicked and broadcasted to the entire CFC jabber for ‘everything’ to come save him.
Ignoring Valid Intel: The CFC Intel network functioned flawlessly when the battle was joined, allowing the Intel directors to chart the incoming stream of enemies as alliance after alliance mobilized and began sending fleets to attack the beleaguered CFC fleet. Despite repeated warnings on comms that every enemy the CFC ever had was on their way with massive fleets, there was no move to disengage until after the hostile reinforcements actually arrived - by which point it was too late. Tunnel vision had kicked in, the hunger for PL kills blinding the CFC commander to the mounting dangers such as the lack of tackle or the incoming enemies.
Underestimating Time Dilation: Once battle was joined on an unreinforced node in Asakai, local time slowed to a 10-1 ratio: every second in the game took ten seconds in reality. In a supercapital gank situation without time dilation, it is often possible to make a kill and disengage before any enemies can react; however, in Asakai, the extreme dilation meant that any enemy from any sector of the galaxy - northeast, southwest, whatever - could reach Asakai in time to attack the CFC fleet, as TiDi is a purely local phenomenon. When Intel was given announcing the host of foes forming to respond to Asakai, the CFC commander did not take into account the fact that his fleet was trapped in amber, where fleets elsewhere in the galaxy were moving at ten times his speed as they rushed to engage.
Smartbombs Forgotten: A whole host of CFC carriers reinforced the Asakai fight - more than one hundred. Every CFC carrier carried a smartbomb in its hold for the express purpose of countering hostile fighter-bombers. When the fight engaged and hostile fighter-bombers were among the CFC fleet, no order was given to refit all carriers to smartbombs, allowing a number of carriers to be destroyed. While supercarriers fit officer smartbombs as a matter of course, the defense of the CFC fleet against incoming damage would have been vastly greater if the refit order had been given. It is reported that some heard a refit order much later in the battle, but by this point it was already a rout.
Failure to Cut Losses: The Asakai debacle could be described as a case of the Sunk Cost Fallacy writ large. The CFC risked a Titan by accidentally jumping it into Asakai, then invested ever more into a doomed effort to pull out a win despite a number of failures, warning signs, and ‘disengage already’ commands. After jumping a Titan in by mistake, if the initial Titan had been written off as dead and sacrificed, the CFC would have only lost 90 billion isk. Once the fight began going south, a CFC Ragnarok was targeted and held down by all of the hostile heavy interdictors and began going down. The pilot repeatedly suggested that the fleet stop trying to save him and use his impending death as a distraction - since all of the hostile hictors were on him, the rest of the CFC super fleet could have simply cynoed out of the system. Despite his steely decision, the CFC fleet did not disengage, the Ragnarok died anyway, along with two more Titans and a number of supercarriers.
I find Asakai both infuriating and fascinating. While it is no fun to be on the losing side, the sheer number and breadth of the errors which abruptly brought about an accidental 3000-person supercapital fight is an awesome thing to behold, like a rocket launch gone hellishly awry. There were a host of opportunities for the CFC to right itself in Asakai: backup hictors in SMAs could have held down PL supercaps to make the fight bloodier, a reinforced node would have avoided the scope of TiDi in the critical initial engagement period, listening to Intel or sacrificing a Titan could have significantly minimized the damage taken. Yet none of this happened: failure compounded failure, resulting in a meltdown.