|Part of World War Bee 2|
|Date||2020-06-04 to 2021-08-01|
|Location||Delve, Fountain, Querious, Period Basis, Paragon Soul, Esoteria|
|Result||PAPI announces a full retreat late July 2021, The Imperium wins the war.|
|vily, progodlegend, others||asher elias, elo knight, others|
World War Bee 2 was a conflict between the Imperium and the PAPI coalition, that lasted from July 4 2020 to August 1 2021. It was the largest conflict in the history of New Eden so far, with an estimated loss of more than 200 trillion ISK and over 580 supercapital ships. It also included the battle with the most players involved and the most players fighting concurrently in a single system (The Fury of FSWT-8) as well as the battle with the most ISK destroyed (First battle of M2-XFE). It ended in an Imperium victory as the PAPI coalition pulled out from the South, albeit after suffering heavy losses and widespread destruction, having lost over 30 keepstars and 4 regions glassed. TEST Alliance moved to live in Outer Passage, after having left Esoteria for Delve during the course of the war.
On the 22nd of June 2020, after many years of relative peace between Legacy and the Imperium, Vily declared war on the Imperium, giving them 2 weeks to prepare. Legacy was soon to be joined by most NullSec blocs, such as PanFam, the WinterCoalition, or the FI.RE coalition, among others, forming the PAPI megacoalition (PanFam alliance please ignore).
The Legacy coalition would have a double staging, with D-PNP9 on one side for TEST to hold Paragon Soul and the G-M4GK ↔ TCAG-3 regional gate, as well as FAT-6P in Catch to face Querious and the 49-U6U ↔ 4-07MU regional. Meanwhile, Panfam forces setup in Hophib to face The Initiative in Fountain.
The Imperium would fire the first shot. On the 5th of July, just after midnight eve time, Goonswarm forces would reinforce 35 Ihubs in the Paragon Soul region and 6 more in Esoteria. They would not however follow up on the timers. In Fountain, PanFam forces started fighting against the Initiative. I-CUVX would fall on the 9th, and the systems of 9D6O-M and YRNJ-8 would fall a week later. It is to note that despite being outnumbered, Initiative forces would punch well above their weight, gaining admiration from their friends and respect of their foes. But bravery only gets you so far. On the 21st, D4KU-5 would also fall, smashing the door of Fountain wide open, at which point Initiative's resistance pretty much collapsed. Receiving fairly little help from their allies in the south, the region was doomed. The new staging of INIT in IGE-RI would fall on the 28th, and by August 13th, Y-2ANO, the entry system to Delve and the last major system in the region would fall, with the entire region captured the following day. It wouldn't be the last of the Imperium's efforts in the region, however, as on the 15th of August, Imperium forces managed to repel an attack on their keepstar, notably bombing an entire TEST Alliance Raven fleet. By the 4th of September, the Y-2ANO keepstar would be the last of 6 keepstars to be destroyed in the region, marking the end of the first phase of the war, and the beginning of Fortress Delve's siege.
To avoid a costly fight through the regional gate between Catch (4-07MU) and Querious (49-U6U), PAPI forces would attack from the north of Querious, the only part of the south-western cluster that was in jump range from other regions. It is unclear why the Imperium did not cynojam those systems, or put up a better resistance in these critical systems. It barely took a week after the fall of Fountain for PAPI to take the first IHubs in the region, while for some reason Initiative started retaking fountain, now deserted by Horde. On the 19th, TEST Alliance would capture 49-U's Ihub, with most of the region under control the next week. The Imperium would mount a fight for the system, however, and on the 24th, a supercapital skirmish would occur in which the imperium lost 17 supers and 20 dreads, to PAPI's 1 super and 92 dreads. It did little to change the fate of the Keepstar in the system, which was destroyed much later on the 19th of November.
After breaking into 49-U, the next big objective for PAPI forces was to take Delve. The best way to do so was anchoring a Keepstar in NPC Delve. Unlike sov systems, NPC Delve couldn't be cynojammed. As such, for an entire week, PAPI and Imperium forces would battle it out in Delve. On the 5th of October, the first keepstar would be placed by Fraternity. Imperium forces would drop over 300 dreadnoughts to kill the first Keepstar, successfully, resulting in a loss of one trillion isk. Fraternity, however, would drop another keepstar immediately, with the following battle scheduled for the next day. The ensuing battle would end up being the largest battle in New Eden history, with over 9000 capsuleers involved, with as many as 6000 concurrent characters. It would however be another pyrrhic victory for the imperium, losing another 320 dreadnoughts, as well as 1200 battleships. On the 11th of October, it would be Horde's time to drop a keepstar. Having seemingly lost more dreads than it could handle, for the time being, the Imperium switched tactics, relying more and more on battleships. This time, only 115 dreadnoughts would be lost, but at the cost of another 1200 battleships.
Horde would try again the next week in the same system, but before that battle could take place, an important engagement would begin in YZ9. Having sent a portion of their supercapital fleet in the system to deal with Imperium structures, PAPI started sending fighters while their supercaps were in a close “ball” formation. It wouldn't be lost on the Imperium's strategists' minds. On the fateful day of October 14th, PAPI super pilots watched in horror as 20 Imperium titans got on their positions, and started activating their Bosons, Area-of-effect doomsday, and watching their health bars slowly crumbling. PAPI rushed their own titans in, but it seemed like it was too late for the supers. But as is too often the case with Eve Online's biggest battles, the servers couldn't handle it. It was now for the Imperium's pilots to watch in horror as their Bosons refused to deal more damage, despite being activated. Before long, the Imperium would lose 16 titans and 30 supers, in the first real supercapital engagement of the war. Sometimes mocked, sometimes respected by PAPI pilots, Goonswarm's operation “ENHO” ended in failure. But it wouldn't be the last time CCP's servers would play a key role in this war…
Horde's 2nd keepstar in NPC delve, the 4th keepstar overall, would meet the same fate as her sister's however. This time, the imperium committed an incredible 2200 Raven-class battleships to destroy the citadel, as well as 100 more dreads and 50 more carriers, who hadn't seen much activity yet on the Imperium's side. It would prove to be a breaking point, however. On the 18th of October, Test Alliance would drop the 5th and final keepstar in NPC Delve, in the system of YZ9 where they had defeated the Imperium titans the week before. Having set up large amounts of bubbles to trap any warping battleships, the challenge would be too much for the Goonswarm and their allies, who had to concede the battle to their foes. The gates of Delve were open, and PAPI's fury could now be unleashed.
Following the keepstar drop in NPC Delve, things quickly went south for the Imperium. PAPI's strategy was fairly simple: take Goon sov, constellation by constellation, and wait. Indeed, after owning an IHub continuously for 35 days, the owner can place a “cyno jammer”, allowing them to destroy Imperium's keepstars without any risk to their super fleet. PAPI would grind their way through the region, and week by week, constellation after constellation, Delve's sov would be ground down. On the 21st of November, PAPI would drop a new staging Keepstar in T5ZI-S, right at the doorstep of the Imperium's capital of 1DQ1-A. The two towers, the twin keepstars, however you wish to call them, would become the symbol of this war, as the two mortal enemies would be separated by a simple jumpgate, lost in the middle of Nullsec. Coalition forces would try to make a break for it, and strike at the heart of the enemy territory, but 1DQ1-A was well defended, especially as the Ihub had an advantage like no others in the game, having a legacy fortizar from a bygone era right on grid, giving a big advantage to the defender. It would take more than a simple subcap engagement to break Goons' capital, and with that in mind, PAPI settled for a slow grind through the region.
The first of many Keepstars to be destroyed by the PAPI machine in Delve would be in NOL-M9. The coalition would however make a costly mistake with one such keepstar, the now infamous M2-XFE keepstar. During the armour timer, the cyno jammer was turned off, allowing the Imperium to jump their own supercapitals into the battle. Once again, records were simply destroyed: both sides lost over 120 titans each, making it by far the costliest battle in New Eden, with losses estimated at a staggering 11 trillion Isks. Meanwhile, the Initiative started a new strategy focused on wrecking Legacy's home regions such as Catch, by deploying in the NPC region of Curse.
M2-XFE had lost its armour during the fight. And yet, on the 2nd of January, 2021, the Imperium still jumped their titans into the system, a few hours before the last timer. This would be a battle for the ages, as all forces coalesced from all around the cluster for what would be the greatest battle of all times. Hundreds of titans were already in the system. The Imperium's were on their keepstar. PAPI's were either logged off in the system, or ready to jump in from T5ZI. It would be a make or break moment. The winner would take it all, taking with them hundreds of titans. The loser could be wiped out from the map for the following years. Hours passed as capsuleers kept bringing more ships. If you were anyone in Eve's nullsec, from the largest capital hoarder to the smaller interdictor pilot, you had to be there. And as the clock ticked by, as the structure timer approached, everyone was ready for the clash of the behemoths. And when the time came, we jumped in.
But it wasn't to be.
We clicked the jump button. Once, twice, some well over a dozen times. Others, logged off in the system, tried to rejoin them. Hours passed, and the excitement turned into angst. The angst, turned into despair. Jumped in, the titans did. At least they did for the Imperium. But PAPI pilots were jumping one after the other. Most never even saw the system. Imperium pilots were absolutely thrilled, as they shot PAPI's titans one after the other. The servers had fucked up once more. Some of the titans were jumping in without a fit, for the game couldn't even load it in time. Once the reality of the situation had settled in people's minds, order was given to log off. The battle of M2-XFE was over. 160 titans had been lost, with only a single titan lost on Imperium's side. It was an absolute disaster. Worse than the battle itself was the fact that over 300 titans were now trapped into the system, inside bubbles, with goon's supercapital ships ready to blast them the second they try to log in. And for a time, it felt like the war was lost here and there, and that the Imperium would reign supreme for the years to come.
But not all hope was lost.
Flaggerbasted for a few days, or however this word is written, PAPI forces were not giving up just yet. A silver lining would soon appear. Out of the 156 titans lost, 83 were “ghosts”. All the titans that had jumped without a fit were in fact very much still alive, despite having given a killmail to their killers. With that in mind, and the fact hundreds more titans were trapped in the system, PAPI commanders were quick to devise a rescue plan. A few more caps and supers would die in the following weeks, as bored pilots preferred death to inactivity, but the losses overall were fairly small.
The goonswarm was now facing a massive dilemma. They now had 3 places to defend. First among all, their capital of 1DQ1-A. Losing the IHub would mean the end of their existence, as they now had no systems to escape to, and only a handful of keepstars that could get them to lowsec in the event of an evacuation. The second place to defend was of course M2-XFE, pinning in place PAPI's titans. The third place would be “Helm's Deep”, the 4 last remaining constellations (outside of 1DQ's) in “northern” delve, as only 1 system led to them, RF-K9W. The Imperium had a staging in E3OI-U, and the whole place was cynojammed. It was however clear that the Imperium could not hold all of these regions at once, and they would have to make a choice.
It wouldn't be long before what was unthinkable a week prior happened, on January 27th. I think the best way to present the event is to simply paste this retelling of the event by a goon pilot, who shared the story on Reddit.
I was sitting in M2 chillin in my carrier. All was quiet at the gate camp and I had deafened coms to focus on some spreadsheets. Then suddenly I get a ping out of the blue, in fact, the first ping of the night:
With absolutely no context, whatsoever. Literally just two words. Before I can react, another one comes through:
I thought “whats going o-
EVERYONE WAKE THE FUCK UP RIGHT NOW
Most of PAPI titans were logging in, as hundreds of bomb dreads were rushed into the system by PAPI forces. The Imperium was simply overwhelmed and taken completely by surprise, as over 400 dreadnoughts aligned their guns onto the enemy titans. They were dying left and right, but they didn't care. While they valiantly sacrificed their ships, 180 PAPI titans would eventually clear their way out of the system. Victory was ours, but even after yeeting so many ships, not all titans were free.
The blow to the Imperium would be huge though. On the 29th, PAPI managed to reinforce the Ihub by leveraging their superior subcaps numbers, and they would take them on the 31st. The clock was ticking again, in 35 days the system could be cynojammed by PAPI, forcing the Imperium to leave the system. At the same time, pressure increased on Helm's Deep, and the first system would fall in early February, soon followed by the whole pocket. On the 6th of Marche, mere hours before the system could be jammed, the Imperium announced that the Hellcamp of M2 was over. The following days allowed PAPI to safely extract the remaining titans.
It took the coalition 2 months of delay and 200 titans, but in the end, the result was the same. PAPI forces could now resume the glassing of Delve, and Keepstars would die left and right. On the 18th, F2OY would die, the last keepstar Goons could use to fleet the region. They were now trapped in 1DQ, for what would be the final campaign of the war.
On Legacy's side, things were not going very well. With the help of Rekking Crew (Dreadbomb & co), Initiative had managed to wreck our home regions, while Ferrata would take northern Esoteria. Decision was taken that Test alliance would now be living in Delve. Brave was awarded Querious, Test would take Delve, Fedup took fountain, etc… This move made it clear that for us, it was do or die. We would take Delve or die trying, there was no coming back.
After months of stalemate during the Siege of 1DQ, a big push is announced to force a change in the ongoing war on July 24th 2021. However, during the week of preparation for said last push, CCP decided to lower NPC station market taxes below the value of the TTT. Without TTT money and with some allies pressuring to exit the war, the push was cancelled and instead a full retreat and evac of PAPI forces was announced. The war was officially over with no final battle. Goonswarm stood triumphant. TEST abandons all the sov they previously held in the South and instead begins a move towards the Dronelands, to find a new home in Outer Passage. The Legacy coalition also disbanded during the moveop.