Sins of a Solar Spymaster #16: A History of the Second Great War, Part Two

For players that want a chance to truly affect a game's environment, history, or future, EVE Online stands at the front of the pack of choices. Boasting tens of thousands of players online, all on the same server, EVE Online allows those willing to form massive corporations and alliances the opportunity to participate in events unseen anywhere else in the genre. This week, our resident EVE insider, The Mittani, breaks down the events leading up to and during the Second Great War for the masses.

Something had to be done to staunch the coalition's bleeding in Querious. Pilot participation was in the gutter, and increasingly it seemed that the average pilot viewed Querious as an irrelevant buffer region not worth expending effort over - or, worse, that they were completely unaware of the mounting strategic losses. In hopes of combating this, we began publishing daily 'war updates' laying out a frank assessment of our failings. Participation slowly began to recover.

To read the conclusion of Sins of a Solar Spymaster #15: A History of the Second Great War, Part One, click here!

style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Continued

Meanwhile, In Period Basis: April 15th - April 25th

Something had to be done to staunch the coalition's bleeding in
Querious. Pilot participation was in the gutter, and increasingly it
seemed that the average pilot viewed Querious as an irrelevant buffer
region not worth expending effort over - or, worse, that they were
completely unaware of the mounting strategic losses. In hopes of
combating this, we began publishing daily 'war updates' laying out a
frank assessment of our failings. Participation slowly began to recover.

href="" target="_blank"> style="width: 200px; float: right;" src="/image/view/66373">

By this point, Sir Molle, leader of KenZoku (RKZ), had made it clear to
his forces that the Second Great War would be won in Querious, and that
all other fronts were irrelevant. Yet Period Basis still contained a
substantial number of RKZ holdings: three stations in the hands of RKZ
pets Executive Outcomes (EXE) and another three split between Frontal
Impact and BeachBoys. Since the assets of the Period Basis pet
alliances had not been directly threatened by the conquest of Delve,
they were 'fresh' and participating substantially in KenZoku fleets.
Destructive Influence (DICE), one of the primary RKZ corporations,
still held seven of the nine Rarity 64 (R64) moons in the region,
meaning that where the rest of RKZ was starved for isk, DICE was
loaded. Two coalition alliances, Zenith Affinity (ZAF) and KIA, lived
in a 4-station constellation wrested from RKZ in Period Basis. If the
region could be conquered and the DICE R64s taken for ZAF and KIA, not
only would RKZ's income be substantially impacted, but ZAF and KIA
would be free to move into Querious to reinforce the rest of the
coalition. Having uncovered Sir Molle's Querious-focused plan through
the judicious use of agents, the coalition decided that the path to
victory wouldn't be Querious at all, but Period Basis.

While the rest of the coalition began trying to slow KenZoku's progress
in Querious by focusing attacks on RKZ-held R64s in that region, Morsus
Mihi (RAWR), KIA and ZAF assaulted and towered the first 'pet'
constellation in Period Basis, the Frontal Impact station of href="" target="_blank">TN25
while simultaneously attacking the DICE R64s. Over the next two weeks,
every Period Basis R64 was seized for ZAF or KIA. On April 20th, TN25
fell. Over the next four days, Frontal Impact and BeachBoys evacuated
their holdings as their remaining stations GR- and E2- were conquered.
All that remained of KenZoku's forces in Period Basis was Executive

Meanwhile, back in Delve, Goonswarm constellations began ticking over
to Sov4, rendering the region nigh invulnerable to surprise attack.

The H74 Hellpurge: April 26th - May 3rd

In reaction to the increasing success of the coalition in Period Basis,
KenZoku launched a new offensive in Querious on href="" target="_blank">H74,
the coalition station closest to KenZoku's strongpoint of href="" target="_blank">49-.
By this point, RKZ was showing signs of weakness; as of April 27th,
they held only five R64 moons for income, down from sixteen at their
peak. As a result, the attack on H74 appeared hesitant. Each day after
downtime, RKZ would place five new towers. The coalition countered with
towers of their own. KenZoku appeared to be unable to take down the
cynojammer in H74 themselves, having to call their allies in Stain
Empire to manage the jammer on their behalf.  Immune from
hostile capital ships as long as the jammer remained intact, the
coalition packed the system with dreadnaughts and rapidly destroyed the
KenZoku towers. The invasion had begun haltingly on April 26th; by the
29th, every hostile tower was purged.

Spurred by the rout in H74, KIA, ZAF and RAWR began the next phase of
the Period Basis front, assaulting the Executive Outcomes constellation
in Z-M and G-Q. In a confused example of strategic indecisiveness, EXE
was initially told by Sir Molle to not bother fighting for Period Basis
and move fully into Querious. After many EXE pilots evacuated their
fleet stockpiles from the region, on May 1st Sir Molle announced that
RKZ would make a stand for EXE's territory after all and assembled a
huge fleet to defend Z-M. Z-M was still jammed, so the coalition
capitals would not ordinarily be able to prevent RKZ from attacking the
KIA towers within. Giving an order which was immediately seized upon by
the paranoid as evidence of some sort of conspiracy, Sir Molle ordered
the Z-M jammer turned off temporarily to allow new capitals access to
the system. The coalition immediately bridged 140 capitals into Z-M,
scattered the RKZ fleet and took the system. All three Executive
Outcomes stations fell shortly thereafter, setting a new record in EVE:
fastest conquest of an actively defended Sov4 constellation. Shortly
thereafter, the largest corporation in EXE abandoned the alliance and
left the Great War for good.

The Fine Art of Running Into Brick Walls: May 4th ->
May 21st

The situation for KenZoku was dire. Period Basis was completely
captured by the coalition, with ZAF, KIA and RAWR free to reinforce the
Querious front. Alliance-level income had been strangled, with only
three R64s held - not enough to pay RKZ's fuel bill in 49 and 3BK, much
less refund capital losses or a new offensive. The coalition was riding
high on their successes in repulsing the H74 salient, with
participation consistently excellent. Yet pride goes before a fall, and
the coalition was about to fall very far indeed.

Flush with victory and not considering the personal impact of the
previous week of war, the coalition invaded 49- on May 4th, downing the
cynojammer and commencing a 25+ tower siege. 49- is a notorious
station, a gateway to Against All Authorities' (-A-) home region of
Catch on the border of Querious, yet also near the heart of Delve. With
forty-nine moons to fight over (a developer's joke, no doubt) and
located in a place that every involved party in the Great War could
easily reinforce, the most intense battles of the war thus far had
revolved around this system. The siegework lasted all night, through to
downtime; coalition FCs who had been playing nearly nonstop through H74
and Z-M found themselves exhausted.

href="" target="_blank"> style="width: 200px; float: left;" src="/image/view/66374">

Downtime saw a coalition fleet of 250+ pilots logging in, eager to
seize 49, but not a single coalition fleet commander. They had all
passed out during the night, too tired to ensure that the chain of
command was secure. The Arab proverb "Better a thousand days of tyranny
than one day of anarchy" holds true in EVE; nothing kills morale and
participation like waking up early to find a total lack of leadership.
Worse still, the coalition FCs had told their capital fleet to log out
a single tower, something which is almost never done. KenZoku was able
to seize control of the system since the coalition had no organized
forces and then 'rapecage' the tower where coalition capitals had
logged off, covering it with warp disruption bubbles and parking a
fleet on top of it. Helpless to prevent it, every tower the coalition
had worked so hard to siege the previous night was repaired by RKZ, and
then the coalition towers themselves were attacked.

The dawn of May 5th saw not only complete disorder in 49-, but a new
and ruinously effective offensive strategy by KenZoku. Since RKZ still
faced serious difficulty in taking down cynojammers without calling in
their allies to do it for them, RKZ began to 'spam' jammed coalition
systems with towers to break sovereignty level 3 (no Sov3, no jammer).
Coalition logistics was already stretched by three months of nonstop
conquest, and RKZ's sudden proliferation of towers in coalition R64 and
jump bridge systems forced an ugly choice. To counter a 'spam' attack,
one can either 'counterspam' by dropping an equal or greater amount of
towers, or siege and destroy the towers with a capital fleet. RKZ began
dropping so many towers in so many coalition systems that it would be
impossible to destroy them in the space of a week, and one week is all
it takes to break Sov3. Already stretched to the limit, coalition
logisticians would have to counterspam. During this period, twenty or
more control towers would be placed a night by each side in four or
more systems; each tower placed required at least eight man-hours of
effort by a logistician. RKZ split the 'spam' duties between their pet
alliances, keeping manpower distributed; coalition counterspam was
primarily handled by one alliance (Goonswarm) since they held the
territory under assault.

The situation grew dire. Confidence in coalition leadership had been
shattered by the abrupt turn of fortune. By May 10th, every coalition
tower in 49 was destroyed, meaning that there wasn't even a foothold
left. Participation plummeted while RKZ's spam increased. On May 11th,
more than twenty coalition carriers were destroyed while trying to
attack a KenZoku spam towers in a R64 system. On May 14th, KenZoku
began an assault on I1Y, a station held by Goonswarm - the second major
counteroffensive in Querious.  Over the next five days, the
coalition bled towers in I1Y at an ever-increasing pace. What should
have been an easy system to defend was being lost, primarily because of
the inhuman pressure that had been placed on coalition logistics. As
KenZoku began to achieve results, more of their allies from Stain
Empire and -A- arrived to help in I1Y, turning a losing battle for the
coalition into a catastrophe. Worse, the bleeding spread from I1Y to
ED, a critical station system with a mere eleven moons; KenZoku managed
to seize two of those eleven moons, getting a foothold that was likely
to expand into a full-on conquest.

Memorial Day Turnaround & the Great Purge of
Querious: May 22nd -> June 4th

Desperate to somehow turn things around, the coalition announced a href="" target="_blank">rallying cry
for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. For whatever reason - either
because their pride had been wounded enough, or they had had enough
time to rest, or perhaps merely finals were over - participation spiked
dramatically upward. On May 22nd, more than two hundred and fifty
coalition pilots assembled at downtime and began striking back in I1y.
Over the next two days, I1Y shifted from RKZ majority control to the
coalition. By the 25th, coalition forces completed a full-scale purge
of I1Y, mirroring their success in H74 weeks ago.

Yet unlike the victory in H74, the coalition had learned from its
mistakes. Instead of pressing into 49 and risking another 'brick wall
incident', the focus shifted to clearing out the 150+ towers which
KenZoku and their pets had littered Querious with. KenZoku made it
apparent that they would only work to defend KenZoku-owned R64 towers;
they wouldn't lift a finger for the assets of their own allies. Pet
towers were rapidly destroyed. The deliberate pace of the Purge allowed
coalition pilots to take breaks and recharge so participation remained
steady. A spreadsheet was created, showing every coalition pilot
exactly where hostile towers were; as the Purge continued, they could
watch and chart their progress. Until June 4th, there was essentially
no organized hostile resistance.

The H74 Debacle and the conquest of 3BK, June 4th ->
June 11th

The respite of the Purge ended on June 4th with the second KenZoku
invasion of H74. For their third major attempt to recapture the region,
RKZ attempted a novel strategy. Rather than slowly adding towers at the
rate of five a day in the target system - the maximum allowed per
alliance per day - Sir Molle assembled nine separate alliances, mostly
KenZoku pets, and gave each of them five towers. H74 has 65 moons in
the system, and only twenty of them had coalition towers on them; in
one stroke, each of the nine alliances would deploy five towers and
block every free moon in H74, forcing the coalition to destroy enough
KenZoku-aligned towers within a week or lose the system. On paper,
simultaneous multi-alliance tower spam was a winning strategy.

In practice, things went somewhat less swimmingly. -A- and RKZ
assembled and disabled the jump bridges into H74 before downing the
jammer, then prepared to jump logistics ships into the system to
commence the spam. But in the time it took to disable the jammer, a
massive coalition fleet had formed; when the jammer was downed, the
coalition fleet also jumped into the system, scattering the RKZ
logistics teams. In the midst of a massive fleet combat, the nine
separate teams of RKZ-aligned logisticians performed with varying
degrees of effectiveness; while Executive Outcomes managed to get their
five assigned towers fueled and operational, KenZoku, Red.Overlord and
several other alliances didn't even manage to get their online before
they were destroyed. KenZoku had control of H74 for only two hours; by
June 5th, every tower they had placed had been destroyed or stolen, and
the third KenZoku Querious offensive was over before it truly began.

href="" target="_blank"> style="width: 200px; float: right;" src="/image/view/66375">

The Purge of Querious continued. KenZoku was taken down to only two R64
moons, both of which were located in 49 and thus seemingly
unassailable. The KenZoku form-up points in 49 and KFIE began to be
camped by small gangs of coalition stealth bombers and other
'irregulars' at all hours of the night. Station services in 49 were
repeatedly disabled, forcing RKZ to repair them again and again. By
June 9th, the 'Querious Spam' spreadsheet listed less than twenty-five
hostile towers in the region outside of RKZ's last stations in 3BK and
49. During RKZ's primetime on the 9th, the coalition invaded 3BK and
met no resistance. Over the next two days, the system was purged and
captured; on the 11th, RKZ was left with only one station, 49-.

The Last Bastion: June 11th-> June 16th

After the fall of 3BK, coalition harassment concentrated on 49-. With
49's station services kept constantly disabled, RKZ pilots could not
change the fittings or repair their ships, nor could they use the
cloning bay to prevent skill loss after death in combat. While RKZ
expected an immediate assault after 3BK fell, forming up several times
to defend against an invasion which was not coming. Instead, the
coalition opted to rest their pilots and continued the low-intensity
siegework of cleaning up the rest of Querious, letting RKZ stew in a
barely-functional outpost.

On June 14th a small coalition fleet achieved superiority over the
defending forces in 49 and proceeded to take down the 49- jammer on a
lark. This was not part of an organized invasion. Experimentally,
several RKZ towers were reinforced. The next day, 49 faced a full-scale
invasion; 25+ RKZ towers were sieged and kited, some set to exit
reinforced mode in US primetime - a sure loss. After downtime on the
16th, KenZoku began losing towers in 49, allowing the coalition to set
up staging points for its titans. Unless system control was reasserted
within the next 24 hours, the station would be lost.

At 15:00 EVE on June 16th, Dianabolic announced the evacuation of 49 on
KenZoku's IRC network: "Evac what you can from 49-, Darwin is watching
you. Bridge from 49- at 1800." Shortly therafter, Sir Molle
acknowledged KenZoku's defeat on their private forums. Rather than
accept responsibility, he blamed the failure on KenZoku's own allies:

"Vacate your stuff. As
it is, we are playing the sacrificial lamb the whole time, we're not
doing that anymore.

Pull your stuff out from
49- and Delve. Thats the standing orders. Place it safely somewhere.
and we'll work from there.
style="font-style: italic;">
Expect no ops posted for
a week."

Being a respectful adversary, I helpfully href="" target="_blank">cross-posted
the announcement to CAOD for all to href="" target="_blank">enjoy.
On a personal note, I feel somewhat lost, like Colonel Kilgore href="" target="_blank">contemplating
the end of Vietnam in 'Apocalypse Now'. Who knows, perhaps
RKZ will rise from the ashes and we can begin the whole delightful
process once more.

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