- The first month of the Halloween War saw action across a number of fronts. Deploying independently, FCON, GENTS and CO2 struck into the drone region holdings of the N3, where the RUS offensives pushed from stations in Catch into Immensea, Omist, and Tenerifis. GSF, RZR and other CFC alliances based out of Curse, sometimes focusing on Scalding Pass and other times on Immensea.
- While initially these independent salients in different regions met with great success and countless N3 Proteus and Ishtar fleets were dumpstered, the enemy has now responded to the multi-front attack and our subcapital superiority by relying entirely on one tactic only: a spider-tanking blob of sentry-drone-assisting carriers, aka 'slowcats', in numbers far beyond what we previously faced (and destroyed) in Fountain.
- In the beginning, we were here for funsies and for revenge, a low-level deployment without too much coordination or :effort:. The moment a 250-Archon capital blob hit the field, however, Shit Got Real. We are no longer playing at being 'honourable third parties', though surely we will remind our enemies of this at every opportunity simply because it drives them up a wall. The hard fact is that mass slowcat blobs represent a clear and present strategic threat to every one of us, and we must respond to that threat with wild, unchecked aggression.
- This update is about killing slowcats: why it matters, why they are bullshit, how we're going to do it, and how you personally can help the war effort.
- The tl;dr? Get a fucking Naglfar - now. Every single one of you. Not just GSF, but the entire CFC. Yes, I am indeed saying that we want approximately 37,000 characters getting into Naglfars; good thing we have 26+ researched BPOs for the damn things.
- THE WAR SO FAR
- You have probably noticed by now that our enemies are absolutely terrible in subcapital fights.
- As we saw in Fountain, they consistently lose subcap engagements, running Jita out of Proteus and Ishtar hulls with their consistent incompetence. We have repeatedly found ourselves holding the field with no hostile subcapitals remaining, staring at a fleet of unsupported sentry carriers, unable to break their spider tank. This has resulted in a social division in N3 alliances; the morale of the subcapital pilots is damaged, while their slowcat jocks burble happily about being 'Spartans' while making tired and self-congratulatory '300' references.
- This division is the reason why we have seen N3 alliances begin to show extreme stress under the strain of this war, even though the war itself hasn't shown much progress on Dotlan. As the grizzled sov war vets among us know, sov wars always begin with a period of fleets slamming into each other and very little visible map changes, then one side or the other breaks and a region folds overnight. Thus far, the RUS have captured a pair of heavy-defended stations from N3 in Catch, while N3 has captured an undefended station in deep Feythabolis which had its TCU offlined by a disgruntled renter. The N3 slowcat jocks can say that they are doing peachy and fending off the RUS while outnumbered, yet the N3 subcapital pilots are having to train Gallente Subsystem skills for the eleventh time.
- Spaceship Samurai have found an excuse to flee the field, 'attacking' Fountain by putting siphons on FA moons or something equally laughable. WhySoSerious is on the verge of a cascade. N3 subcap fleet sizes continue to decrease even as their slowcat numbers rise. Though GSF just lost an outpost egg in 1P-W by being Terrible At Eve ™, the foe's braggadocio in the aftermath of that screwup held a distinct note of fear: where a CFC egg goes, all hell follows.
- We are shifting from a multiple-fronts strategy to concentrating our forces with the RUS to bear down on the N3 slowcat blob. Multiple fronts worked great in the first month of the war before the foe shifted to an all-slowcat strategy, but now the enemy has used carrier range to easily bounce around to counter our incursions with little risk - the fabled 'capital power projection' problem. The only way to kill a slowcat blob is overwhelming localized force, rather than multiple smaller salients.
- In the Fountain war, we would see a maximum of 100 slowcats in a fleet; in this war we have seen a full 250-carrier fleet. These fleets are more cohesive as well; in the past six months, every major bloc - including us - has abandoned non-Archon carriers entirely. A spider tank comprised entirely of Archons is massively more effective than a mixed group of carriers due to the Archon's inherent armor damage resistance bonus.
- There are a number of reasons why slowcats are such a problem; you must learn this in order to understand how to kill them. Slowcats combine spider tanking, capital power projection, sentry drone assist and elite pvp player entitlement into one noxious, disgusting package of imbalance.
- Slowcats repair each other using their capital remote armor reps, and these are made all the more effective by the hull's armor bonus; unlike subcap groups which need a variety of roles (line ships for dps, webbers, bonus ships, antisupport and logi) to fulfill the same functions, a slowcat fleet only needs one type of ship - an Archon. They can destroy subcaps with ease out to 130km using Bouncer IIs, and these are slaved via drone assist to always strike with a perfect alpha volley. That same damage does ruinous things to any dreadnought attempting to counter the slowcat fleet within drone range; we calculated that a 200-carrier slowcat fleet can destroy a sieged short-range dreadnaught (which is, we should note, incapable of being spider-tanked in the same way as the carriers due to siege mechanics) within four sentry vollies - 16 seconds of game time. Slowcats can cover vast ranges of space: look at the projection offered from NCdot's staging system in Immensea by a JDC5 Archon - that's 6.5 regions of threat. Unlike Dreadnoughts, Titans and Supercarriers, slowcats have no need of even a single subcapital in support; their assisted sentries can swat frigates out of the sky as long as the drone trigger has enough target painters.
- As an aside, slowcat fleets are also completely immune to Supercarriers, as they simply refit their highslots to smartbombs and remove the incoming fighterbombers. Did I forget to mention that carriers can, of course, refit off one another, meaning that the combat versatility of the slowcat allows them to change their fits to match whatever situation they abruptly encounter? It takes only 81 cycles of a thermal smartbomb to destroy a fighter-bomber.
- We should not be surprised that our enemies have flocked to this doctrine, especially in light of the average survival time of a N3 subcapital fleet. They allow their pilots to play-act that they are 'at risk' and 'fighting outnumbered' while 'highly skilled' when in reality they are close to untouchable, well-armored by their hypocrisy and hubris, and displaying even less pilot skill than a mission-runner in Sobaseki. Yet we should be used to their scorn, derision and nauseating entitlement; after all, their identities are quite familiar to us.
- As is readily apparent, slowcats are completely indefensible from a design perspective, just like tracking Titans and the previous drone-using Supercarriers. Capitals should require subcap support, and die without that: anyone unironically supporting or defending slowcats in their current form is either a total incompetent or wretched shill of our enemies, nothing more.
- But we are going to smash our enemy's precious golden toys and rub their faces in shit. Here's how.
- OMEGAFLEET: THE REVENGE OF THE MAELSTROM
- If you want to simplify the slowcat problem, it is essentially a fleet of drone-assisting Hellcats with jump drives. The rise of the Hellcat fleet - supertanked pulse Abaddons with logi support - caused us to adopt Alphafleet; the incredible ability of Hellcats to tank and use logi to repair incoming dps was negated by simply volleying the offending ships off the field in a storm of 1400mm artillery: a ship that has been alpha'd cannot catch a rep. We now find ourselves in a situation where we must volley an Archon. Short-range dreadnoughts do not work, as they die at a rate of one every 16 seconds and their dps comes in a sustained, easily-repaired way. Thus, we are shifting to Omegafleet - Maelstroms on PCP, a group of 60-80 Arty Naglfars.
- Depending upon bonuses, an Archon can have between 2.5 and 3m EHP. An Arty Naglfar can spit approximately 65k alpha at 140km every 15 seconds, outside of the effective range of slowcat blobs. This means that it takes ~60 Naglfars to destroy a slowcat without any chance of being repped - assuming a perfect volley, and perfect volleys are impossible unless you happen to be using drone assist ('heh'). To account for varying skills, falloff and 'goonproofing', we want 60-80 arty Naglfars in our Omegafleet. This will obliterate a slowcat fleet regardless of its size, obviate any hope of spider tanking, and send our enemies home in shame.
- GSF and the CFC as a whole spent 2.5 years using Alphafleet and then Techfleet as our primary doctrine, which means that virtually all of our pilots have Large Projectile 5 trained already. If you can currently fly a dreadnought, CCP has made cross-training between races easy; you no longer need Minmatar Battleship 5 as a prerequisite. If you were a Maelstrom pilot and can already fly any other Dreadnought, you can be in an Omegafleet Naglfar within a few hours of training -you will need at least a week or two to get Capital Projectile to 4 and Minmatar Dread to 4, but you get the idea.
- The Omegafleet Naglfar is also a vicious short-range option when fit with autocannons - not that you would ever drop short-range dreads on slowcats, as 'dread tanking' is a joke and they die in 16 seconds/4 sentry volleys. You keep your shortrange dreads for when the enemy escalates against your arty Omegafleet by dropping supercarriers on it. Their guns - being projectiles - mean the Naglfar fires regardless of being neuted, which is a problem the Rev and Moros continually face.
- Omegafleet works in concert with FuckYouFleet. The humble Celestis is able to reduce the repping response time of a slowcat fleet substantially by using locktime scripts. Because Omegafleet, like Alphafleet, cannot achieve a pure 'perfect volley' due to pilots locking at slightly different times - unlike drone assist - spreading Celestis damps across the slowcat group gives us the opportunity to 2-cycle an Archon with shots at T-0 and T-15.
- Train for Naglfars. Everyone. Not 'just dread pilots', not 'some guys, this doesn't apply to me', absolutely everyone in this alliance and coalition. Our allies are already doing the same
- When CCP fucks up and creates yet another imbalanced and indefensible mechanic, there is a certain demographic of player who will immediately seize upon this mechanic and use it to try to destroy Lowtax's Chosen People. We saw this in the Great War with AoE Remote Doomsdays and with supercarriers enjoying 'pos bowling' to knock our ships out of towers. We saw this with supercarriers using sentries and fighters to annihilate subcaps, dropping on even the most humble of gangs. We saw this with ever-larger fleets of tracking Titans gunning down helpless newbies in afterburning Rifters. Always the same shitlords smirking at us, looking down on us, saying that an alliance which doesn't have a 30m skillpoint limit has no place in nullsec, or that we are a 'cancer on Eve' who need to be purged upon the altar of their hypocrisies. Today, we see the same pattern repeated: the same people, the same corporations, slightly different alliance tickers, and now slowcats.
- As before, they will defend their nonsense methodology as something legitimate. In each case they have raised a howl of protest about any criticism of these laughable mechanics, and while they spew as much squid ink as they possibly can to prevent CCP intervention, they come for us. They come for us in Syndicate, they come for us in the Great War, they come for us in VFK, they come for us in Fountain, and now they act horrified and surprised when we show up in the East and start putting our jackboots to their throats. They actually have the audacity to be surprised that we would come for them, hungering to inflict the vengeance they so dearly deserve.
- Northern Coalitiondot is literally a mishmash of Band of Brothers and Raiden, minus Reikoku - which is sharing fleets with them regularly. Nulli Secunda is no BoB, but they made their bed when they loudly declared in the Fountain war that their entire N3 coalition exists to try to destroy the CFC - our destruction is their raison d'etre. Never forget this.
- The very idea of these people with a 250-man Archon fleet should make you reach for the nearest Naglfar and sound the **** horn. They yet again have another pathetic, indefensible and shameful gameplay mechanic in their hands which they will use to try to destroy our people, just as they always have. That is what they do: find some bullshit mechanic, abuse the hell out of it, all the while defending it vehemently and simultaneously trying to annihilate us.
- This is why the Ostfront is now a real war. Our ancient enemies have found themselves another superweapon, and so we're going to overreact on an absolutely colossal scale and smash them - and all their friends - into dust and tears. We will smash them in Immensea, and put a stop to their dreams of our ruin before they get out of hand. Once we have the largest fleet of Dreadnoughts the game has ever seen, we can give the entitled shitlord demographic the finger and have a round of carefree hijinks elsewhere.
- Until then, it's war.
- EXPECTED ORDER OF BATTLE
- By now we can expect the following escalation path for battles on the Ostfront:
- 1. Subcap clash, we win and wipe the field of hostile support. Slowcats are untouchable and subs have to stay out of their 130km range, or else.
- 2. 60-80 Omegafleet brought in at 150km, begins to alpha slowcats. Foe must now escalate or lose their entire slowcat fleet. They will 100% escalate with supers.
- 3. Enemy escalates by dropping supercarriers on top of Omegafleet at facefuck range.
- 4. We counter supercarriers with bombs + smartbombing. No fighterbombers, no threat. Either we keep killing slows, or the Domis neut out the supercarriers and we activate the torture engines on their supers.
- 5. Short-range dreads dropped on supercarriers.
- 6. We probably eat a bunch of shit from Doomsdays but that's life, and ideally whack another Titan or two. If we have a bazillion dreads, they won't risk the Titans anyway.
- The counter to slowcats is arty Naglfars at 140km. The counter to their counter (supercarriers) is smartbombs and our stealth bombers nuking their drones. The foe's strategy amounts to shoving all-in on every single fight, which means they may win repeatedly until we take them for everything they have in one sweep.
- THE CURRENT SUBCAP META: WHY DOMIS, NOT MEGAS?
- Fountain was a blast because we could use Megathrons with impunity. When we ran across Drone Assist fleets, we stomped them, even though it was not easy. On the Ostfront we use Dominixes, but we haven't explained in detail why. Those of you who have been on Dominix fleets and raked in tons of easy killmails while sipping coffee, playing Terraria or watching porn probably have some idea.
- First is the concept of 'perfect volley', which was mentioned in the above dissection of slowcat mechanics. A human pilot makes mistakes. In Fountain we had one noble Baltecfleet pilot uploading combat videos to Youtube of him splitting his guns on different targets instead of shooting the primary while simultaneously forgetting to turn his hardeners on. The FC of a regular fleet must call a primary and hope that his pilots lock it in sync and then fire when asked to; the very first primary called is as close to the 'perfect volley' as possible, and then all hell breaks lose as different locktimes and raw human idiocy sees less and less steel on target as secondaries and tertiaries are called.
- In a drone assist fleet, every volley is the perfect volley. There is no error, no problems with differing locktimes, no opportunity for inefficiency. The sentries fire as one, every four seconds, giving us the now familiar 'finger of god' sniper effect.
- Sentry drones also allow the FC to fit the ideal damage type to the foe. N3 has shifted to using Ishtar and Proteus fleets, both of which have naturally very high resistance to the Kinetic/Thermal damage profile of our favored Megathron fleets. Dominix fleets ignore this and simply pump perfect volley Explosive alpha into their resistance hole with Bouncer IIs - which is one of the primary reasons N3 can't seem to win a subcap fight, as they fly doctrines with a massive resistance hole against a doctrine perfectly designed to exploit that.
- There are other reasons why the Dominix is the ideal tool for the current war. It lacks guns, which means that each battleship only costs about 150m to lose and reimburse, compared to vastly more expensive t2-gunned ships. Its high slots provide great utility, either using heavy neuts to ruin the day of hostile supercapitals or swapping out to smartbombs to destroy hostile fighter-bombers. It's cheap, tough, ugly as sin and uses the enemy's tactics against them.
- SHIT IS REAL: GET TO G-0, TRAIN FOR OMEGAFLEET
- We cannot afford to leave our ancient enemies in the possession of a 250-man Archon fleet. This is going to be an ugly and brutal war with a tremendous amount of capital and supercapital violence, but we have no choice: we must smash and counter their latest anti-CFC weapon, or find ourselves against a wall in VFK making another 40-hour, modafinil-fueled last-ditch defense.
- Unlike in Fountain, we have allies in the form of the RUS bloc. GSF has always had friendly relations with the Russian Eve players, going back to the sacred reconquista of C-J6 in September 2006, which is why GSF itself contains so many Rus. Of course, the modern Russian alliances themselves have splintered over the years, and sadly some of our friends no longer like some of our other friends (Death and Mactep hate each other's guts, basically). Regardless of that grudge, we are perfectly happy to stand beside Solar Fleet and Darkness of Despair when it comes to slaughtering N3 - who vowed to destroy us - and NCdot - who comprise our ancient and most loathed foes.
- Because the enemy has raised the stakes so massively by flashing a 250-Archon fleet, we must now come over the top and annihilate them. That means no more idle 3rd party funtimes. That means absolute, unflinching war. That means everyone - everyone - to G-0 with warfaces on and skillqueues set to Naglfars.
- Grit your teeth, get to G-0, get a Naglfar, and prepare for hellwar. No mercy, no respite.
4 pages of tears
a guest Dec 15th, 2013 1,276 Never
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