Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

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Titus Tallang

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Director of Special Projects
Director of Special Projects

Post 2017.07.16 02:46

Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

So. After three days of blood, sweat, tears, boredom and people falling asleep while their pod sits idly on a wormhole, we've done it yet again. Another wormhole belonging to those that have wronged us is left a sweltering ruin, and another generation of Unistas got to be the ones wielding the flamethrower.
And now, at last, if history is anything to go by, it's time to tell a story.

It's not just any story, of course - this one is your story, dedicated to all of you that participated, that made were ultimately integral in making this great undertaking a resounding success.

Casus belli: The reason for war
Back in June, the University received a declaration of war. This alone would not be quite as uncommon, yet something was strange. The particular attacker here was a complete unknown by the name of Global Warmers Corp, with no particular history of high-sec aggression. We inquired through diplomatic channels, but to no avail. Thus, we shrugged and began standard response procedures - including seeding alts into enemy channels, which will allow us to offer some exclusive glimpses into the mind of the enemy later on.

Target locked: Do I even need to do any work myself anymore?
Of course, we always like to keep our eyes peeled for immobile targets that allow us to force the hand of our elsewise-slippery opposition. In this case, a lot of our work had already been done for us, as a lovely pilot named Michael Alderman had correctly identified GWCO's two home systems of J132418 and J220338 in a wonderful intel report he assembled. Once we had gained access to the enemies' comms, this information was quickly verified, and the corporate office list, accessible to any corp member (bless CCP), allowed us to easily identify the structures being used - a Raitaru in J132418, and (far more importantly) an Azbel in J220338, which was primarily used as an industrial base and PI source.
At this point, a plan began to form in my mind. We hadn't killed an Azbel before, and some cursory research revealed a Moros dreadnought was also present. All in all, tasty targets that made me decide to take my proverbial structure FC hat off of my proverbial hook and announce an operation for July.

Interlude: A glimpse through the eyes of the enemy
Some time later, the Uni's Highsec Campus completed a structure bash of their own. This did not go unnoticed by our one-sided friends in GWCO, who pondered the implications of this extensively. However, their extensive deliberations came to a simple conclusion - something like this could never happen to them. After all, their wormhole was well-defended, with their Control Tower full of ECM, dampeners and neutralizers, and their Moros dreadnaught.
Sure, their tower had no way of autonomously delaying a bubble wrap from locking down any assets inside, and their Moros was stored in that tower, but at least their Azbel had two of its twelve fitting slots filled, allowing to easily fend off any attacking fleet....as long as said fleet consisted only of frigates, and said frigates voluntarily moved within the 2.5km range of its point defense system...
You know, let's just give them points for optimism and return to our story, shall we?

Backroom deliberations: Deciding on a doctrine
In the past, when the Uni has indulged in operations like this, we've typically employed very bashing-focused armor kitchen sink fleets mainly composed of Oracles and VNIs (with Prophecies and Vexors as low-SP options).
However, in the time since then, we've added the BLAP training program, which offers a HML Caracal as a structure fight option. Having never gathered experience with that variation of the doctrine, I figured this operation might mean a good chance to rectify that. As such, I made a decision to focus on a Cerberus/Caracal HML doctrine, which should give us enormous control over any grid with ridiculous range projection while our opposition would be pseudo-tackled by the objective being contested, and announced this in late June to allow members time to train into their favorite fit.
However, in this train of thought, I made a grave error by neglecting a crucial statistic which would come back to bite us in a big fashion on the first day of the actual operation. We'll talk about that in a bit.
Well, actually - we'll talk about it now. Let's get to it.

Operation Day 1: Things are going worryingly well
During the actual insertion, we had a number of crucial objectives to fulfill at the same time, so plans were made ahead of time and then amended on the day to suit the actual situation in the hole.
Finally, the big day rolled around. Due to the target Azbel's vulnerability schedule (Mon-Wed 00-02, 22-00), we were forced to schedule for a Wednesday, choosing 19:00 as the departure time to give plenty of time to lock everything down nice and tight before the actual structure contest needed to begin.
Despite this, turnout was lovely, with fleet member counts peaking just shy of 150, with - after some prodding - a nice distribution of roles. We depart (roughly) on time, also a pleasant surprise, and arrive at the lowsec entrance after only 12 jumps, which is also better than expected.
So far, beyond the obligatory E-Uni structure OP frigate hole spawn, things are going very much optimally. We enter the wormhole, and still no adversity as we immediately establish control over all connections and lock down the enemy starbase with the Moros still inside. As the Moros exits the safety of the POS shield and commits suicide via siege mode (which we are happy to oblige), I am starting to feel increasingly worried - this is going too well. Something needs to give. The center cannot hold.
And here is where we will, finally, encounter our great adversary for this story: the concept of structures having a humongous HP pool that needs to be depleted.

Operation Day 1, Part Two: Please Let Our Torment End
You will recall that we briefly discussed doctrine selection above. During insertion, our Caracal setup has prevented any possibility of hit-and-run interference by the defense, and we're now starting to incapacitate starbase modules to remove any real risk of opposition. However, as it quickly becomes apparent - if a single starbase battery has 1.6 million HP to grind through, and you have 70 Caracals shooting it, and even if you make a very optimistic assumption of each Caracal doing 300 DPS, you will still take more than 10 minutes for each battery you kill - and a tower can be (and this one is) equipped with upwards of 30 of these. Needless to say, these are not nice numbers.
So while we incapacitate batteries, then shoot the Azbel, then go back to the batteries without actually experiencing any serious contest, the hours drag on, the fleet member count wanes and every battery takes even longer than the previous one, and we haven't even started on the 52.5 million EHP that the control tower itself has before it enters reinforced mode. Decisions are made, and a few haulers offer to move Oracle battlecruisers into the hole.
However, hauling ships takes time. The hours drag on. 3 AM, 3:30 AM, 4 AM. The first four Oracles finally arrive, and the batteries are finally exhausted as work on the control tower starts. 4:30 AM. The control tower EHP moves at a snail's pace, and serious concerns about passive recharge rate are being raised. 5 AM. A second set of four Oracles finally arrives. The HP now moves at a steady pace, but it's still not a quick one. My sense of time started blurring a long while ago - sometimes, it feels like the HP is dropping rapidly, then again what feels like a few minutes later I check back to find that only a single percent point had been taken off. 50%. 45%. The clock shows 5:30 AM. 40%. 35%. Please let this actually be stronted, I pray. If not, I fear I might not be able to last for the hour it would take us to finish off the entire tower. 30%. 29. 28. 27. 26. 25%. The magical number, yet the tower is still attackable. Worries build as the number remains stationary, yet the tower is still a valid target, for what feels like an eternity. I check again - still at 25%. Lasers keep hammering the shields. Finally, the target lock breaks and the control tower displays the "Reinforced" text. I log the timer, hand off command to one of the relatively fresh reinforcements, and fall into bed. The clock is showing 6:14 AM, my time. I am asleep within seconds, and will not wake until ten hours later.

Operation Day 2: In for the long haul
I rejoin the Operation at just past 1400 EVE time on Thursday. Incredibly, some brave holdouts had actually committed to forcing two three of the system's nine customs offices into reinforced mode even after the excruciating tower grind had ended. As numbers climb, we commit to repeating the process for the remaining seven, and slowly do so over the course of the next hours. I'm still feeling the last day (and night)'s excess. The hours seem to drag on, even as I take multiple breaks to conserve my focus. At 22:00 EVE, the Azbel exits its first reinforcement cycle and we destroy its armor over the course of the next 45 minutes. The eight Oracles from the previous day, joined by some polarized bombers pilots brought in, make the process faster, but still not nearly fast. I make the decision to give my body some rest, and pass off command shortly thereafter to save some energy for the final day.

Operation Day 3: What we've all been working for
I wake mostly refreshed and rejoin the Operation still in the same state as when I left. During the last eight hours, not much has happened - the connections have remained under control, our targets have resigned themselves to logging off the occasional stealth bomber from within the Azbel's tether, and destroying their own pods as a way of returning to known space. Again, the hours begin to drag, though real life drags me away - not finding me entirely unwilling, I will my admit to my shame - at roughly 16:30, as I leave the operation in capable hands yet again.
I return at just past 19:30, with the Control Tower already having exited reinforced mode, and join in on the firing squad. Luckily, armor and structure are significantly less bulky than shields, and the tower succumbs shortly thereafter. Loot, however, is extremely sparse, with only a single (T2 fit) Buzzard to show for our troubles.

Operation Day 3, Part Two: I give you - explosions
We maintain control, and I begin to disassemble our staging tower, trying to avoid another all-nighter as the final remains of the enemy POS are wiped from the map. On the hour at 22:00, the enemy Azbel finally exits its final reinforcement cycle and we pile on until 22 minutes later, a series of small explosions builds into a sequence of larger blasts and, finally, the Azbel delivers the fireworks show we've all been desperately needing. In addition, we are graced with a deluge of station containers ejecting the contents of the doomed structure, which we immediately begin to gobble up as if our livelihoods depended on it. As opposed to the starbase, which had been stripped bare, it appeared that our friends had not been quite as orderly with their Azbel, and we quickly realize we've stumbled across quite the haul.

The aftermath: Who wants to own a spaceship?
As a swarm of hungry locusts Unistas devours the final container and divulges its content into starbase storage, I realize quite a conundrum - that's a lot of ships we looted, and if I were to move them all out I'd be at it for days, not particularly something I'd be looking forward to. However, this is a problem we've solved before, and thus I turn to the ages-old solution of the immediate firesale auction. Thus, over the next hour, a plethora of items crosses under the virtual gavel - among them a Rattlesnake hull for 400 million, a Barghest for 1.7 billion, the corpse of the enemy CEO for 250 million, a Caldari Shuttle for 40 million and 4 Procurer hulls for use in a Thunderdome free-for-all for 50 million a piece.
At the same time, while part of the fleet commits to sticking around and seeing the final POCOs burn, a deluge of ships departs to the (very conveniently situated) lowsec static, causing its remaining mass capacity to rapidly deplete. We do one final excursion to move members' second ships out, then I ask everyone remaining to stay so that the hole (whose mass status was critical at this point) could be used by the last remaining Orca once it had gathered up the remains of the staging tower. However, after some further complications involving being unable to unanchor the staging tower due to tens of thousands of m³ of fairly worthless PI materials clogging the CHA module (which we disposed of into the endless abyss of an unanchoring PHA), the Orca finally exited through the connection, which collapsed shortly thereafter. The god of wormhole must've been pleased by our commitment, as the next static opened within 1 jump of highsec as well, allowing the remaining battle-weary warriors to leave the killing fields at long last. Three days had finally gone, and the operation was over.

The final tally: Our pecunia still does non olet
On the financial front, I'm happy to say that the operation was a resounding success. The total profit from the firesale was just shy of 5.3 billion ISK, all of which has been forwarded to the University's coffers - not included are the various other nonliquid assets that were retrieved but not yet sold.
While no value can be given for the total losses inflicted on GWCO, the data we do have tells us that it'll easily reach into the tens of billions.

Final words: We've done it again - you're all awesome
So here we are. Above is a story of three days as experienced through my eyes. However, my pair of eyes is only one of many, many pairs that were integral to the tale I've just told. By no means am I the only one who worked until the wee hours of the morning to ensure that a control tower was destroyed, and by no means was I the only one to camp a wormhole until my senses screamed for relief. There are so many of you out there who also went through the same, even though you may only function as the scenery in my viewpoint above.

However, none of it couldn't have happened without you, and none of it will ever happen again.
In the end, this is why we spend hours, days and years on this silly game of internet spaceships - because while this is but one of the many stories that are told in it, this one is your story. You're the ones that wrote it, and you're the main characters in it. I'm so incredibly honored to fly among all of you.

There are many stories out there. But this one is ours. We made our own piece of history, something we will never forget. We were there, and it was awesome.
Scientia potentia est.
If a statement I made seems offensive to you, please be assured that this was not my intent.
If I am mistaken about something, please tell me about it. We improve through sharing knowledge.
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Titus Tallang

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Director of Special Projects
Director of Special Projects

Post 2017.07.16 02:46

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

Killmail summary:
Scientia potentia est.
If a statement I made seems offensive to you, please be assured that this was not my intent.
If I am mistaken about something, please tell me about it. We improve through sharing knowledge.
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Ulrik Elristan

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Post 2017.07.16 02:49

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

First ! :smug:

First of all, thanks to all that worked on preparing this OP.
And then, thanks to GWCO for serving this whole thing on a silver plate.
Eventually, but most importantly, thanks to all unistas... Cause we can do some pretty darn great things when given a chance, and a motive !

Love the write-up Titus. Kinda lacking on the gif front :lol:
Last edited by Ulrik Elristan on 2017.07.16 03:10, edited 1 time in total.
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win” - Sun Tzu.


May enter novel-writing mode at any time. Beware of the walls of text !
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Nikki BDB

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Post 2017.07.16 03:06

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

While I was only able to attend for very little due to it being done primarily during the times I was at work -- it was a pretty great time!

Hopefully people have gotten their taste of the possibilities of wormhole action and might consider our campus? Haha! (shameless plug)

Either way - thank you FCs and logistics (in the straight up logi pilots and the backbone/structure of getting everything organized version of the word)

And thank you to those people who stayed alert all throughout the day/night to keep control of access into the system!

You guys are the real MVPs :)
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Marn Vermuldir

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Post 2017.07.16 03:10

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

Glad to hear the operation continued to go smoothly after I had to bow out for the weekend. Wish I had been able to stay and continue to help, but hopefully the Oracle I left helped reduce the time needed to bash the structures.

Great work everyone that was involved!
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Commander Aeris

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Post 2017.07.16 03:12

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

Nice write-up!

Some moving Gif's of exploooosions would've been nice, Zaliek has some I believe :wink:
Last edited by Commander Aeris on 2017.07.16 10:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Mattikus Pathfinder

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Post 2017.07.16 03:13

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

Thanks everyone who took part in this event. It wouldn't have been possible without all of the people who contributed over the (very long) 2 days.

My involvement started with the HSC slack conversation about finding their wormholes. I decided I'd give WH hunting a go. Sadly, with over 2500 wormhole systems with constantly changing random connections, finding a specific one (or two) isn't a trivial task. After a couple of days of hunting, I got lucky. I was keeping an eye on the zkillboard page for both of the potential systems, when I noticed a pilot had recently been killed in J132418. I sent him a conversation request, to try and find out how he got in to the system. He turned out to be Russian. With the help of Google Translate I was able to convince him that I wanted to kill the people that just killed him, and he gave me the system he entered through. I raced through ~25 jumps just in time to find an EOL hole. I was in. At this point I contacted Titus with some screenshots of WT assests, and the plotting began.

What followed was a period of intel gathering; working out when people were active in which of the holes, and mapping out the vulnerability times of the structures. The Raitaru in J132418 was awkwardly TZ-tanked (0700-1000 Tues / Weds / Thurs morning). The Azbel in J220338 was better, with timers falling in to US prime-time, but on Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday night. Once we'd determined the target, and which days we could attack, Titus set the initial date, and the waiting began.

The next few weeks passed without anything particularly exciting happening, mainly just re-checking the vulnerability timers and trying to gather any useful intel. Titus spent time drawing up various plans, some of which he linked in his AAR. He also recruited people to help him source and deliver mission-critical ships in to the target system.

The operation itself went far better than I imagined it could have. Having known what was meant to happen for several weeks beforehand, it was excellent to see everything falling in to place. There may have been a few sketchy moments where people got rolled out, blown up, or almost killed by a fleet member, but it was a great learning experience and nothing too serious went wrong. Apart from the initial frig hole that just wouldn't die (but did remove what was left of Helioswipe's sanity), we had good control of the wormhole with new holes being quickly dispatched. Bob was on our side with the connections, with the low-sec static usually being a reasonable number of jumps from Amy, making things far easier for the people that led travel fleets every 3 hours (even if there was only 1 person that needed escorting).

There were countless people that stayed up to the early hours of the morning to keep fleet numbers up, swapped between ships to make sure we had each of the required roles filled. It was great to hear people become more confident with what they were doing over the course of 2 days as they gained experience.

So once again, thanks to everyone that took part. The time spent planning (and the sleep deprivation during hole control) were definitely worth it.

EDIT: Also, the pun in the title of this thread is terrible Titus. Well done.
Last edited by Mattikus Pathfinder on 2017.07.16 03:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Ulrik Elristan

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Post 2017.07.16 03:20

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

Mattikus Pathfinder wrote: or almost killed by a fleet member,


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Oops.
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win” - Sun Tzu.


May enter novel-writing mode at any time. Beware of the walls of text !
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K950

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Post 2017.07.16 03:23

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

Thank you.
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Breeze One

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Post 2017.07.16 03:38

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

Thank you Titus for this! It was fantastic seeing almost the entire Uni working together. My sleep pattern is completely gone, but totally worth it. Massive props to your organisational powers - for those who didn't get to see the planning documents Titus drew up before the event they were meticulous. Glad I could help out with FC'ing the initial insertion as well. Much learned about hole rolling that night.

Everyone was awesome, but massive respect to Alto who seemed to FC almost the entirety of the AUTZ each day by himself (at least every time I logged in). And let us pay respect to Xana McBash's already strained sanity.

Best thing about the AAR is that screenshot from their comms after our IKR POCO Bash. I wonder if its getting lost a bit in the text, but I REEEEALLY feel the need to take it out and wave it in people's faces more :D

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Last edited by Breeze One on 2017.07.16 03:54, edited 2 times in total.
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Rikali Laru

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Post 2017.07.16 03:47

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

That was really amazing, thanks to all who made it possible.

@Mattikus : Hope you sent that Russian dude the killmails, and I'm curious about his reaction :D
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Alto DeRaqwar

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Post 2017.07.16 03:51

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

A epic operation; but let us have a moment of silence for all our fellow pilots lost to SpACE MADNesS in this op.

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Last edited by Alto DeRaqwar on 2017.07.16 23:22, edited 3 times in total.
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Mincell Crow

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Post 2017.07.16 04:57

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

If you added up every heavy missile any character of mine had ever launched since I started playing EVE, it would pale in comparison with what I launched into that control tower on Wednesday.

I was lost in time and space; just me, my ship, the control tower, and the F1 key to hit every few minutes. The monotony only broken by the occasional trip back to the CHA for another load of missiles. With each new cargo load of missiles I took a brief pause. I was desperate to log off after too many hours spent playing internet spaceships and each time I debated just calling it a night. But each time the growing desperation in my fleetmates voices called me back to the hostile POS. At some point, in the haze that was that micro-eternity, an angel blessed by Bob took pity upon us and graced us with four glorious T2 fit Oracles to hasten our self-imposed flagellation. Like the last few shreds of sanity Titus had left, the final percents of shield on the control slowly slipped away. I sat back content and tired, a hard day's work in EVE lay behind me. It was finally time for a much needed break. As I warped back to the friendly POS and prepared to revert back to meatspace someone spoke up and said...

"Those POCOs won't bash themselves"

Darkness descends

The last thing I remember was heading back to the CHA after reinforcing the third POCO. The AAR says we only reinforced two, did I hallucinate a POCO? After that control tower bash, it's entirely possible.
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Zaliek

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Post 2017.07.16 05:50

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

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Aisair

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Post 2017.07.16 06:00

Re: Every day seems to drag-on - The OP Chorogon AAR

This was by far the most fun fleet I've been in during my time with the Uni. I only wish I could have stayed on longer but time zone problems and the fact that my RL job sent me to two whole day training seminars severely curtailed my ability to help bash the POS and guard the hole (phrasing!).

I am glad to have been part of the op, and trained furiously over 2 days just to fit into a HML Caracal - but it was damn worth it. Reading through some of the issues we encountered makes me want to train up into a structure bashing ship so I could fly something that could help out during the next OP. What would be a good ship to target?
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