Asakai Aftermath: All Over a Cobalt Moon

"Wake up - do not login - listen to mumble from here on out" — Jabber broadcast from Dabigredboat to CFC capitals

A few days ago, Dabigredboat — a Clusterfuck Coalition (CFC) coalition level fleet commander, known as DBRB — had deployed capitals in Akora to mess with Liandri Covenant, a Caldari Militia alliance. Pandemic Legion (PL) took notice, as this is close to where they kept their supers. When a similar situation presented itself — a Liandri Covenant cobalt moon was coming out of reinforce in Asakai-Drunk ‘n’ Disorderly (DnD), a Gallente Militia that was attacking said moon, reached out to PL. DnD asked PL if they would be on standby if the CFC dropped capitals or supercapitals, offering to have a large number of heavy interdictors (HIC), the only ships that can warp scramble a supercapital in lowsec, on standby. PL agreed. 

“Everything in war is simple, but the simplest thing is difficult.” —Carl von Clausewitz

Boat’s plan was simple: hot drop the militia forces in Asakai, kill what he could, and get out. When the opportunity presented, he attempted to use his titan character, Oleena Natiras, to bridge the subcapital fleet in. However, he made the mistake that dooms many titan pilots: He hit jump instead of bridge. Once on field, he was tackled by DnD HIC's, who reported the Leviathan to Elise Randolph of PL. Elise decided to go for broke and committed forty PL supers to the fight.


“Then it seemed rather grim.” —Elise Randolph

Once PL supers were committed, jabber pings went out all over the CFC for fleets. The operation had turned from saving Boat’s titan to destroying the PL fleet. Subcapital fleets were formed and capital pilots logged in. One of the effects of Time Dilation (TiDi) is that it affects not just the system the fight is taking place, but several systems out. Capitals ships were able to arrive much quicker than usual since they jumped in from outside of TiDi effects. When PL saw that the CFC was going ‘all in’ to Asakai, they reached out to other groups. They started out by contacting the N3 Coalition. When N3 agreed to assist, PL contacted TEST who started to make their way up north as well. 

However, neither group was initially close and Asakai is located in the CFC’s front yard, so to speak. It was a simple matter for CFC capitals to use cyno beacons to move to the battle and CFC subcapitals could use the highly developed jump bridge network. So, in the initial stages, the CFC had local superiority and was able to down one PL Nyx while three others warped out in low armor and even one at eighty seven percent structure. A CFC Hel died, apparently unable to turn his hardeners on due to TiDi. Well before this time, TiDi had hit the maximum, ten percent, and the lag was horrible; it took a carrier pilot nearly ten minutes to refit a smartbomb. Local was well over a thousand and climbing; it would peak at over two thousand and seven hundred.

“Nulli and now NCdot are streaming towards this fight. EVERYTHING, but particularly hictors, need to get here” —jabber ping from The Mittani to all-all

“So, shit was getting real, we pinged all PL to get out of their slumber.” —Elise Randolph

While the CFC was pinging their jabber channels, PL had basically contacted every single other group in New Eden with a promise: after the fight was over, everyone would depart in peace. As TEST and N3 and Honeybadger Coalition (HBC) alliances made their way into the system, a happy little coincidence occurred: Black Legion (BL) was, according to Elise, in the middle of a fifty man dreadnought move and was in range of the battle. This gave the anti-CFC forces a distinct advantage. According to Elise, “we had three fleets working together, we were able to take down 3 targets at once — a huge thing in lag.” While one fleet would attack Goon supers, another would work on carriers and dreadnoughts.

At this point the order was given for CFC titans to get to jump cap and get out. A few minutes later, in the capital fleet chat word of a friendly POS in system appeared. The alignment was changed and titans were ordered to warp if they could. At the same time HIC's were called primary by the capital and subcapital fleets alike. Supercarrier ECM bursts were used in attempts to allow the titans to get out. Boat put out a call for carriers that were able to triage to x up in fleet and rep the titans taking damage. Once the titans were ordered out, the CFC forces knew the battle was lost; it was simply a matter of how much of the supercapital fleet could be saved.

Once most of the titans had cleared the field (Oleena Natiras remained on field to the end, while others had crashed) shield tanked supercarriers were ordered off as well. Armor tanked supercarriers remained for quite a while longer but were eventually ordered out, clearing the field. The remaining capital fleet was then extracted as best they could.

“But he [Boat] was unfortunate in this case, probably the only circumstance that CFC couldn't pull a numbers trump card.” —Elise Randolph

This fight could appropriately be called Everyone vs. CFC. The HBC, N3 and BL all put up huge numbers in this fight and unified purely in opposition to the CFC forces. Over three thousand pilots were involved, mostly due to the fight being streamed. TiDi was also a contributing factor, with pilots able to cross dozens of jumps to join the fight and find the battle still raging. Another was the location. The fight took place in a lowsec system. Pilots from all over, who would not in a million years go into null, steamed as fast as they could to Asakai. Eve-Kill is having a heart attack over this fight at time of press, but it would appear that approximately 274 separate alliances took part in the conflict. Nearly ten percent of EVE players logged in were in Asakai, most of them fighting the CFC.

Absolute Soul Crushing Lag

This fight was not planned or anticipated in any way, escalating to its fever-pitch unpredictably and organically. As a result the node was in no way reinforced. As the CFC skyteam put it, lowsec has the worst hardware of the cluster; huge fleet fights should never be held there. Elise commented that the lag also affected his target calling as travel time for drones, such as fighter bombers, must be taken into account. 

The Butcher’s Bill Battle Report Corrected Battle Report

As previously mentioned, Eve-Kill is going a little haywire with regards to the battle. Current supercapital losses amount to three CFC titans, five CFC supercarriers, and one PL supercarrier. The actual losses will almost certainly be higher as kills continue to post on the server. Undoubtedly there will be ships returned to pilots that died of a server error; in giant fleet fights like this, server errors always occur.

Capital losses are much steeper. The CFC lost forty five dreadnoughts and twenty two carriers. The killboard losses for the opposing force are three dreadnoughts and ten carriers lost.

The loss in terms of ISK, according to reports of EVE Kill at time of press, is over 834 billion ISK. Ship reimbursement directors in many alliances across EVE are going to be very busy tomorrow.

The CFC Skyteam’s Reaction

The CFC skyteam was kind enough to have a chat with me. They recognized that mistakes were made and that the situation spiraled straight out of control. They plan to implement stricter controls over the use of supercapitals to attempt to prevent something like this from happening again. Furthermore, they stated that titans should never be committed to lowsec. Every time that happens it turns out poorly. The whole situation is reminiscent of the Northern Coalition loss to the Drone Russian Federation in Uemon nearly two years ago. When all is said and done, they all emphasized their continued support of Boat, saying that he is a good fleet commander and will remain a coalition level FC.

As far as relations with the HBC: the CFC diplomatic position remains unchanged, according to a diplomatic director. Those wishing for a CFC/HBC sovereignty war to emerge from this event will be disappointed. 

Elise Randolph and the PL View

Elise Randolph was kind enough to be interviewed for this article. While he disliked the lag, he did say it was “some of the most playable massive capfights I've been in.” He further went on to praise DnD, saying they “were true heroes, brought every hictor they could, and just kept on coming.” He credits the tipping point of the fight to TEST, which arrived with over five hundred ships.

In the end, I think Elise sums up the whole fight from both sides quite well: “It was a very fun, very bloody, incredibly surprising fight over a Cobalt moon in lowsec.”


The Broader Political Implications: Shadoo Speaks

We asked Shadoo of Pandemic Legion, one of nullsec's foremost thinkers, what he thought the Asakai situation tells us about the broader situation in 0.0: 

Sala Cameron and MrBlue had been working on dropping a small CFC SC group lead by Dabigredboat for about 3 days nows, and by looks of it -- tonight was the night when all the stars aligned. With nothing at stake, no moons threathened or sov structures to grind -- both sides threw caution to the wind and went all in.

Thanks to DnD low sec combat experience against capitals, they were able to clear 80% of the Fighter Bombers with smartbomb battleships at the start of the engagement. This reduced enough damage to swing the DPS war to our side and reduce our losses. Still, the fight was very close with several PL/HBC supercapitals saved in low armor/structure and with all of nearby low sec, and even Jita cleared from Heavy Interdictors -- DnD hero tackle managed to provide a decisive victory over the tackle war and thus turn the tide of the battle.

I feel this fight epitomizes the position the Mister Vee (of GSF) and myself advocated few days ago, and thus we feel vindicated now that it was once again clearly demonstrated that you do NOT need to invade anyone, shoot any structures or engage in a soul-destroying 0.0 SOV war in order to kickoff epic fights in EVE. Some people in EVE needed a lesson that big fights almost always happen by accident‚ and the lіkеlyhood for them occurring iѕ exponentially bigger when there ISN'T a space empire at stake. Best fights are those where both sides go "f*** it, bring EVERYTHING" just because they can and have a good brawl.

On hiatus. On Twitter @AlizabethVea