[AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

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Nienke Solette
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[AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Nienke Solette »

Last Saturday, we successfully unanchored two structures in WHC. This was a massive undertaking because of three facts: 1) these structures have been there for a very long time; 2) wormholes don't have asset safety and 3) a lot of players moved on from EVE University or stopped playing.

In this AAR I will give my perspective on the whole strat-op. Firstly, I will discuss the preparation. This includes (but is not limited to) getting ships and people to WHC, pre-assigning specific roles and scheduling the strat-op. Secondly, this AAR will go deeper into the execution of hole control, the first fleet on Friday and the second fleet on Saturday. Lastly, I will elaborate a bit on the consequences, aftermath and resulting situation.

Disclaimer: at this point, I can disclose 95% of the information. Revealing the other 5% can implicate both the current strat-op, as well as future ones. There may also be some information we will never disclose, because of that. Furthermore, I love the involvement of all the Unistas who reached out during this strat-op to offer feedback. I always encourage constructive feedback and suggestions, either via DM or via other ways. However, do keep in mind the guide to commenting on AARs, please. I am also a human being with feelings, just like y'all <3

Also, no hamsters, cats, dogs or other pets have been harmed in writing this AAR. Except maybe Roxy. And Rufus. Oh and I totally did not drink alcoholic beverages. Except for that glass of wine. And the beer. And the bottle of whisky...


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Preparation
Approximately one year ago, Conci Furiram and Biwako Acami started talking about unanchoring Azmo's Large Innuendo (ALI) and Frood Processor (Frood), a fortizar and a raitaru. Why? Well, the reasons already mentioned in the introduction meant that we were dealing with a loot piñata. If a hostile entity would shoot down ALI and / or Frood, a huge amount of player hangars would be dropped on-grid. Roughly one or two months ago (when I started to get involved) I have heard estimates ranging from 10 - 4000 cans with a minimum value of 25 billion.

In other words; it was a honeypot for wormhole entities across the entirety of New Eden. This became even more clear when Hard Knocks (HK) paid us a visit in the middle of November. To defend, we successfully formed a Ferox fleet with more than 180 characters.

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Therefore, we had to take both structures down on our terms. We decided to take them down on a Saturday evening. The advantages: 1) we do both structures in one go, reducing overhead and 2) it would be EU evening / US afternoon on a weekend day, which is prime activity time for EVE University and thus more help. More help means 1) decreasing the time needed to loot, 2) increasing the size of the defence fleet and 3) improving hole control (because of shorter shifts and more rollers). We could have unanchored Frood Processor earlier to gain some experience, but that was too much of an effort to ask (more on that under "Hole Control").

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Hauling
For hauling all the loot, we were a bit limited in our options. Freighters cannot go through wormholes, so bringing those in is impossible. However, a solution is to make them in WHC, which meant that we had a limited number available. Furthermore, DSTs and T1 haulers also help, depending on how many people fly them. Many hands make light work, so we asked the Hauling Department for help with DSTs. The plan was to 1) first let a specialised hauling wing loot all the high value, low volume items and ships (as well as the structure and the core) and then 2) let the combat fleet reship into T1 haulers if there was no hostile activity in WHC. There would be 4 hours between unanchoring the first and the second structure, which we thought would be enough time for the specialised wing to get the most valuable loot off the grid. NB: The 4 hour gap would also give us a timeframe to cancel the second unanchoring, if things would get spicy.

For the first part, Pink and Biwako made a spreadsheet. The process was for interceptors to warp to a can, put the content into an evepraisal, bookmark the can and put both the BM name and the evepraisal in the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet would do magic to sort the cans/BMs/evepraisals by isk per m3 so that the haulers (DSTs / Freighters / Bowhead / High-SP pilots in pods) could prioritise what they needed to loot first.

For the second part, we made sure there were enough T1 haulers available. At this point, WHC would be clear of hostiles and the most valuable loot should be already off the grid.

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Defence
For defending the structures, loot and haulers we decided to form up the usual Feroxes. Most of the ships were still at WHC because of the HK defence. Just to be sure, we decided to plan a fleet on Friday evening to get a couple more reships in. Another reason for the extra fleet was to get characters into WHC. With hole control, it is very hard (if not impossible) to get back with a ship into a wormhole, if you get podded and you end up outside of WHC. To simplify this, we decided to also set our home clones in Jita. This meant that we knew where most of our Unistas would end up to reship, and it was a trade-hub which allows for easy and quick reshipping.

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Hole Control
You have seen the term "hole control" a couple of times in this AAR now. Hole control means that you control the wormholes leading towards/from the system you live in. One way to do it is like this: roll all static connections until it reaches CRIT with a doorstop (rolling battleship) sitting on the other side waiting to collapse the wormhole. Next, also roll all wandering connections completely. There are more things you can do to improve hole control, depending on how much effort you want to put in (e.g. bubbles). For strategic reasons, I will not disclose that here.

The goal behind hole control is to keep other entities from bringing ships into WHC. During hole control, the wormholes are closed for any traffic, unless it is necessary for hole control. Keeping hole control is the top priority in a strat-op like this; if the enemy can't get in, you don't have to fight them.

Keeping hole control is mentally and physically a very demanding task. The doorstops have to watch D-scan and local continuously and the hole control FC needs to be alert continuously. The longer you want to maintain hole control, the higher the chance you will lose it because of the burn-out of members keeping hole control. That is the reason why we decided for two days (a rough 48 hours) of hole control. Longer than two days would lead to too much burn-out and shorter would mean that we gave hostile entities one more day to bring ships into WHC.

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OPSEC
Welcome to knowledge warfare. The bain of every FC's existence. The elephant in the room. Everyone hates it. Why? Because it is a trade-off. For the fleet to work together as efficiently as possible, they need as much information as possible to make informed decisions. Furthermore, being an F1-monkey is boring. However, if the enemy knows exactly what you are doing, they can prepare for it. Because of what was at stake (see also the earlier estimate of cans and value), as well as intel reaching us that there were multiple entities watching us, we decided to go quite extreme on the OPSEC.

This meant that we gradually started spreading information to persons on a "need to know" basis. Most FCs and staff members were informed in the week leading up to the strat-op. Most Unistas and WHC members knew that we would have this strat-op on Thursday when hole control started and the uni-wide announcement went out via discord and on the forum.

Next to that, our forum- and calendar posts were initially set up to be regular Null-/LowSec roams with Brawly Cruisers / Longbow Cormorants. We also didn't let every other content creators know that there would be strat-ops during this time. It is no secret that there are spais in EVE University. Despite how much I detest misleading Unistas, this was the reason why I felt I had no other choice than to do it like this.

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Ships
With all these moving parts, you need a lot of ships. Some of them we planned to bring in on the Friday fleet, but the majority we brought in during the weeks / months before that. In total, we had more than 350 ships ready to go. Ship classes ready to go include (but was not limited to):
  • T1 Combat Battlecruisers
  • T2 Logistics Cruisers
  • T1 Logistic Cruisers
  • Command Ships
  • Recon Ships
  • Heavy Interdiction Cruisers
  • Rolling Battleships
  • Pure Scanners
  • Deep Space Transports (DSTs)
  • Interdictors
  • Interceptors
  • T3Cs
  • Freighters
  • T1 Haulers
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Hole Control
As mentioned, we started hole control on Thursday evening. It was kept relatively low-profile and the fact that WHC was in hole control was only visible on the WHC Discord channels (in the first 24h). In general, hole control went smoothly, as far as I know. There was a small incident with a DST which got rolled out, as well as a suggestion in the FC debrief to only assign more experienced Unistas / WHC members as a doorstop or dedicated scanner. Furthermore, it was not 100% clear for every hole control FC (especially lower activity hours) what to do when things would get spicy. Lastly, all entertainment was impromptu, which is fine, but content creators love a heads-up. I think all these issues will improve the more often we go into hole control.

The hours before the first fleet, hole control started rolling for a wormhole relatively close to Jita, to reduce travel time. This was one of the more risky moments of our hole control since we now had a fresh wormhole without a single doorstop. If any hostiles would know the location, this was their moment to bring in scanners or even a full combat fleet.

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Fleet 1
Therefore, OPSEC for the first fleet was even more critical than usual. As mentioned, the purpose of the Friday fleet was to 1) bring more reshipping ships into WHC, 2) set the home clone to Jita for easier reshipping when podded and 3) get Unistas of other campuses in WHC to help, without compromising hole control multiple times. I would have loved giving this information to every fleet member at the start of the fleet. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be and thus we kept our intentions and destinations a seekrit.

Form-up went a bit more chaotic than usual since 1) the ships were spread out over X-Sense and HSC, 2) we had to account for wormhole mass and 3) we planned to move a set number of ships, initially. Furthermore, unstable unit requested some PEWPEW. Of course, we can't decline that invitation. ^^

The fleet itself went smoothly, there was some impromptu entertainment, drinks, tipsy people and banter. The only major flaw was, as became clear at the end of the fleet, our communication about setting your clone, the consequences of that and preparing fleet members what to expect once ending up in WHC with hole control. I totally get why this was very frustrating and unsatisfying, especially with the hype we generated. You have let us know in many ways that you felt unappreciated and undervalued. We will definitely change the way we do that for next time.
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Fleet 2
Then, the main event. We started forming up at 18:15, which gave us over an hour to get our combat wing up, as well as our hauling wing. Most high-SP pilots were in the hauling wing, which meant we were a bit short on Loggie pilots and other special roles. However, hole control was still going strong and went smoothly. Furthermore, we had [DELTA-SQUAD] ready to go for when it would get spicier.

First, ALI unanchored. We still had hole control and the hauling wing started looting. The combat wing undocked to show what we had ready for defending the hauling wing, as a show of force and deterrent. Our doorstops and scanners saw some hostile activity, both inside as outside of WHC, but our hole control was on point and rolled out a hostile scanner which was safe-logged, as well as the scouts of the fleet outside of WHC.

After roughly two hours of looting and a class by the infamous, "just a small town girl", Pro Bear Teaching Manager Mike Kingswell - who showed his skills the Camel Way - we were pretty sure that hostile acitivty stopped. The combat wing reshipped into T1 industrials (which were ready to go in the Flight Deck) and pods to help with looting the rest of the cans.

After another 4 hours, we decided to also proceed with the unanchoring of Frood. The specialised hauling wing started looting the fresh cans and the combat wing proceeded with looting the ALI cans. Eventually, everything was done after a grand total of 6 hours back-to-back looting. We moved some of the Ferox fleet back to HSC and called it a day.

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Aftermath
Only after a well-deserved rest, we realised what happened in the chaos of the second fleet. It was an even bigger success than we initially thought, because (in the words of doomed House Cat Conci Furiram);
  • The enemy didn't even know when the unanchoring started
  • The enemy didn't know Frood was going down too
  • The enemy panic formed an hour after we started after their spai started pinged when we landed on grid (5 min before the unanchor)
  • The enemy tried using seeds but our HC was so on-point (after the reflections from the HK Op) that we rolled them out and we never lost HC
Furthermore, we looted a grand total of 475 cans with millions of m3 of total volume and hundreds of ships. Now, the loot piñata is gone and we have made WHC a bit of a safer place to live. We will do something like this again, but the effort it will take will be significantly less since the structure is younger than 4 years old.

Lastly, we learned a lot from the whole process of unanchoring the two structures. A lot went well. Some things were going a bit less well. The things that went less well, we learned the most of, which is what EVE University is about.

I want to thank everyone who helped in any way during the strat-op. This success would not have been possible without you. It keeps amazing me how much time and effort my fellow Unistas are willing to spend on EVE University, both during fleets as in the preparation and after it. I love you all and can only hope seeing you flying dangerous again soon!

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Overall evaluation
  • (Positive stuff)
    - Strategic objectives: great success!
    - Unanchoring both structures on one day meant significantly less overhead
    - Very strict opsec was the main reason for this strat-op being very successful
    - Hole control was on-point (only one small incident where a DST got rolled out)

    ~~ (Meh stuff; but positive are the learning points!)
    - Leaving a structure up in a wormhole for multiple years results in a loot piñata: prevent this by regularly unanchoring structures
    - Most high SP pilots were in the hauling wing on Saturday, which meant that we were short on some special roles in the combat wings.
    - There was some entertainment during hole control, but it can be planned out better + a heads-up could have been given to some people to prepare stuff to do in WHC.
    - The trade-off between OPSEC and expectancy management is very challenging, which especially showed on the Friday fleet. Our communication during and after that fleet about the situation was poor and the hype generation was too high. This resulted in Unstas from campuses other than WHC to feel frustrated, unappreciated, undervalued and unsatisfied.
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Anidien Dallacort
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Anidien Dallacort »

Thank you, Nienke, for a very detailed writeup. I still don’t think I quite grasp the full scope of the planning and work that went into what we did last weekend, but your writeup does help shed some light on some things, and I certainly have learned more reading over this writeup.

To my fellow Unistas that came out to help - thank you. I don’t, and am not trying to represent myself as, speaking for the Uni - but thank you from me. I know several people were upset over how things went down - I’ve had a few conversations with a few people on that too. I totally understand why on my end - not only did my best laid plans for isk generation that weekend fall through - I took a lot of spouse aggro during the op itself (a bit before Frood popped, my wife and I were arguing about my son being cooped up all day while I flew “my little spaceships”). It was a draining day of activity (or inactivity, depending on your own role and perspective that day).

While my real life as a husband, father, and busy professional comes first - and often leaves me dreaming I could be flying with you fine people more than I actually do that flying - I’ve also been a hardcore MMO player before (eg nightly 80+ man Everquest raiding guild). I’ve seen all sides (casual/hardcore/in between) of MMO life. I know one reason - not THE reason, or the most important reason - but one reason, I have made Uni my home for over a year, and will continue to do so for some time - is life in the Uni allows for a very casual commitment. We are free to come and go as we please - chat casually in discord, mumble, and in game channels; find ad hoc group content when the circumstances allow, join or not join fleets, mining Ops, and classes as we individually choose, and so on. The circumstances around this fleet - took that from us for those two days - and took that from us unexpectedly, and unaware. It’s not what we are used to, and it’s not what we expected. I understand the frustration.

I only hope the further information in this AAR, allows us to see why it was necessary, nonetheless.

I am not a WHC member. But in my time in the Uni, I’ve seen every campus come to the aid of all others. Though many of us do not call ALL campuses home, I hope we can all understand the unique value to our whole Uni identity, each campus brings. WHC was in danger - and 10/10 times, I’d join this operation again - as I know WHC would come to the aid of the campuses I roam in when needed (and that is not theory - I’ve seen it happen before).

Our overwhelming success on war targets structure bashes, sometimes leaves us feeling a bit invincible. I know I’ve seen:heard sentiment about how we could have faced anything anyone threw at us. The Uni, is not even close to the biggest fish in the sea - even raw number wise. There are organizations out there capable of doing us harm - heck, we’ve even lost some fights to some war targets over the past couple of years. This is why our neutrality is so important - why our diplo team is so amazing - and why it was so crucial, to have so many people, sitting in ships ready to react.

While I was personally on the hauling team, zipping around bookmarking about 130 cans and hauling stuff back and forth - I know sitting in those Feroxes and not firing a shot, must have been draining. Personally, I’m glad none of you had to fire a shot. There has been, and will be in the future, plenty of time to let loose your ammo and revel in glorious explosions (your own, possibly even!).

I made mention to the hauling wing -I’ve been in the Uni for a year and a half nearly, and have never been asked to do anything like this before. While the unexpected boredom may have been jarring - it’s also not a typical thing, so I am happy to give a weekend back, to the Uni that has given me so much. Happy to give that time, to the Uni that has given me a home to retreat away from the stress of my real life work, and escape into a place, with a group of people who are more family than simply corpmates.

The opsec, and what it led to, was frustrating. But honestly - look to the Unista to your left, then to the Unista to your right. Out of the three of you - four of you are spies. This is what we have to expect - and it is the biggest strength of the Uni that leads to that very slight weakness. This organization opens its doors to all who want to come, provides information, content, and assets to all in need - and for most purposes, the presence of spies, is far more of a situation to chuckle at, than a day to day worry.

Unfortunately for us all in this circumstance - such a situation, only multiplied the danger to the home of our WHC family members.

I know I understand the frustration - again, because we simply don’t have to do things like this in the Uni, and it was jarring for it to occur. I know I have brought my own concerns over it - and have brought the concerns of those of you that have talked to me personally about it - to our leadership that organized this op.

And they are listening. And they know, while many of the elements of this op are necessary - there were certainly things that could have gone better.

But I ask us all to remember this - it’s so easy to think of our family’s leadership - as absolute masters of EVE; so good that mistakes just shouldn’t be made. And that sentiment is easy to make - because our own leadership, is so very good at what they do.

But all of us - from the day one member, to our most experienced leader - are constantly learning, adapting, and learning again. It’s the core mission of our University, it’s what we do best,

The Uni has undergone significant change over the last year - and so much of it is so much for the better. The same leaders that make our lives better every day - are the same leaders hearing our concerns, and adapting the approach to anything even remotely similar that we may need to do in the future. I know that leadership has earned my trust, based on their constant actions and success at making my life in EVE more enjoyable - and I trust them now, to learn from the feedback from last weekend.

Do remember - none of us had ever done anything like this before, and that includes those that led this effort. I know I won’t expect perfection the first time through.

From me, thank you again to all who came out. It was an emotionally and physically draining experience, but once again, we achieved our objectives. I know I’m proud to call myself a Unista, and proud of what we did that day.
Anidien Dallacort - Teaching Officer, Mentor, Sophomore

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Virgilia Coriolanus
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Virgilia Coriolanus »

Thank you Nienke for writing this AAR.
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Victyrael »

I think you and the team did a brilliant job FCing and writing a solid 10/10 AAR with quality memes.
Spoiler
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As ever, these things cut both ways but with one universal truth: EVE is a game.
A terrible one at times, but a game. Some people can tend to lose sight of this and not fully appreciate that these operations are done with the best interests of line members and the corporation.
OPSEC
Welcome to knowledge warfare.
There is always that difficult balance to be struck between:

i) empowering and facilitating members to enjoy EVE, a terrible game; and
ii) just getting things done so that there can be a future to be enjoyed.

This is probably one of the key drivers of OPSEC.

In no situation would it be fun to bust open those two citadel loot pinatas only to find yourself at the thick end of bomber groups set up in sufficient waves & numbers to cycle the 500k container HP and/or the accompanying fleet. I totally agree that some level of OPSEC had to be maintained in order to allow (the many billions worth of) assets to be recovered that will probably fund SRP and #funtimes events for the foreseeable future so that everyone reading this can enjoy playing this terrible amazing game.

However, in some circumstances the OPSEC focus can be misjudged. In this instance there was a pretty big hole punched through the 'need to know' by open source information - if you combine some select forum posts over the past few months, sprinkle over some Discord chatter and season with citadel game mechanics it was very easy to identify:

i) What the strat op was for
ii) When it was happening; and
iii) Why

In a corporation with a USP and operating procedures like EVE University, spies will be everywhere - cough - and there is little you can realistically do to control it. They can, and will, act in ways to create content, whether fun for E-Uni or otherwise. With this in mind, consideration needs to be given to whether or not to release more information for the benefit of the line member; E-Uni is a learning corporation after all.
Spoiler
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The hole control / OPSEC strategy nicely dealt with the risk that some random dudes floated in and tried to have a go. However, anyone that had:

i) access to the forums
ii) no special roles above member; and
iii) the backing of, or connection with, some sufficiently equipped #spacedudes

could easily have messed around with everything if they were so inclined. If what you say about the 'enemy' is true then their assets in E-Uni (hello HK spy - you absolutely suck) need to learn how to spy properly because it sounds like a masterclass in fail.

When you are reviewing OPSEC seals and leaks, I suggest your first consideration is whether compromising information is already out there to begin with and, if so, how to deal with it.
~~ (Meh stuff; but positive are the learning points!)
There was little in the way of ~meh stuff because it's all part of the development journey. I totally agree that planning entertainment (Kingswell Karaoke anyone?) for some eventualities - such as being uncontested - is very helpful, as is managing expectations. Some people may only have the weekend to play EVE, and in this situation, they were otherwise unable to.

Whilst not the place outline more fully here, operations of this nature also tend to expose some wider cultural issues between the E-Uni player base and the 'right to tell people what to do' - there were some spicy comments floating around from some of the WHC and various entitled players that were potentially unwarranted.

This is not about how many hours you put in or whether EVE is 'work' for you: nobody cares if you did hole control for 72 hours straight, or if you built a titan from sticks & mud and broke out of an enemy hellcamp 'Iron Man' style. This is a game; how you say something is just as important as what you say. You may not agree with their approach, but people like the FC team are putting in their own time to deliver content for you.

Not every campaign, operation, and event will be run by 10-year EVE veterans who, by the cycle of epic fail & learn, will have taken stock of everything and tried to put in place things to mitigate any potential issues. FCs are learning, line members are learning; everybody is learning.

Not everything went 100% but the only people who never fail never do anything. There was a lot of good, plenty of excellent reflections and a lot of valuable learning points - a net positive outcome.
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Win:Win!
Very well done to all involved.
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Waruiru »

Thank you for writing this up and sharing it. This particular operation needed to be explained and discussed more than most, partly due to the op sec and partly because of how people were talking about it. FC and managers already do a ton of work, so writing essays about it afterwards is even more "not undocking time" you put in. Thank you for doing it, we needed it.
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Biwako Acami »

A special shout out to WHC members who helped maintain 54+ hours of hole control to help with the OPs success despite all the OPSEC around it. Hole control in WHC means that no one gets to do what they like (unless you like scribble.io.) I'm really happy that everyone went out of their way to help attain success in the OP with just the knowledge that it was for the betterment of the campus E-UNI.

There are many people who helped me with formulating a plan and prepping for the actual event. The key people who began preparations for the OP are Tori Moliko (now of NOVAC), Kai-Alon Deninard, Pink Kondur and of course Conci Furiram. Towards the last few months it was a tag team effort between Pink Kondur and I to maintain secrecy while preparing for the various parts of the OP. As we rolled in closer to the time the WHC Officers were keyed into the plan and made significant contributions to the OPs success including FCing the Hole Control OP. The FC team helped decide the date for the OP and summoned the full fighting force of E-UNI to defend the unanchoring effort. Hauling department helped with a few haulers as well to lighten the load on WHC staff.

Other key people who provided invaluable advice and assistance to the OP: Sabre A, White 0rchid, Urban Oxide.

Thank you all.
Just a humble scout
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Arin Mara »

Thank you Tolerin Escipion for helping me vent my cynicism. After being lied to and deceived I thought I'd never again trust a word uttered by the authors of the operation. However, after the cynicism evaporated and rereading the Report, I came to realize a far more accurate description of University Operational Security is temporary obfuscation, rather then a collection of lies and deceptions.

After all, the destination, goal, threats and the process are all detailed to a satisfying degree in this very Report.
Nienke Solette wrote:OPSEC
... The bain of every FC's existence. The elephant in the room. Everyone hates it. Why? Because it is a trade-off. ... Because of what was at stake ... Most Unistas and WHC members knew that we would have this strat-op ... Despite how much I detest misleading Unistas, this was the reason why I felt I had no other choice than to do it like this.
...
~~ (Meh stuff; but positive are the learning points!)
- The trade-off between OPSEC and expectancy management is very challenging, which especially showed on the Friday fleet. Our communication during and after that fleet about the situation was poor and the hype generation was too high. This resulted in Unstas from campuses other than WHC to feel frustrated, unappreciated, undervalued and unsatisfied.
That's much better then the "I can't magically make everything good and beautiful" statement. :P I have nothing but respect for you after reading how you fought with your own decisions, about the terrible mental cost of being a Manager, about how no trade would have satisfied everyone.
So much respect in fact that I'll even make an argument in favor of Operational Security: because the University is a learning Corporation and other Corporations practice OpSec, in spite of disagreeing with its principles, it is important to expose our own members to it so that they are not surprised when they encounter it elsewhere.

I'm still convinced members of other Campuses are as trustworthy as those of the Wormhole Campus, even if they had no ISK to lose. I'm equally convinced that there is more glory and satisfaction in doing it the hard way: publicly disclose the operation and fend off the well-prepared forces thirsty for Wormhole ISK.

Then again, I don't place very much value in ISK, but if I were a Manger and 25B ISK belonging to my followers was at stake... I don't know if I'd choose truth, glory and difficulty over obfuscation, ISK and control.
Thank goodness I'm not a Manger that has to make that decision. :D

Thank you Nienke, thank you for writing an essay, an exploration of your your own mind, the processes and trade-offs you had to make. :)
I'll show greater patience next time I have feedback.
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Mike Kingswell »

Arin Mara wrote: I'm still convinced members of other Campuses are as trustworthy as those of the Wormhole Campus, even if they had no ISK to lose.
I can personally attest to at least 4 occasions when - during hole control (starting LONG before the start op) - a member of WHC asked something along the lines of:
"While we are in holecontrol can I even go to the StratOp?"
WHC Members were kept in the dark and on a need-to-know basis just as any other campus' members. Of course the WH going into full lockdown holecontrol was a giveaway for many of them, but they didn't know much more than that. Knowing that holecontrol is an exrtreme measure and 'no joke' they accepted it.

As much as I respect the bravado of a "let them come" attitude I personally would rather have a surviving campus after an Op like this than an evicted and homeless one after a glorious battle. That would have been,in my honest opinion , the outcome if external forces would have succeeded in breaking our hole-control.
Thanks to anyone who invested hours and hours of their time staring at a wormhole, checking D-Scan and standing by in station 'just in case' - without even knowing why and not questioning it even once! o7

Thanks for the detailed AAR Nienke, thanks for everyone involved in this OP. Not every StratOp has a big and satisfying explosion as it's conclusion. The objective was successfully achieved and a threat to a campus has been dealt with.
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DonBasuno Ichosira
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by DonBasuno Ichosira »

- Very strict opsec was the main reason for this strat-op being very successful
- Hole control was on-point (only one small incident where a DST got rolled out)
So, me getting rolled out in a rolling battleship during the looting was not a rolling incident. Opsec move to roll me out I guess :lol:

I can understand that it's not the most fun fleet to join for people who never been to WHC before, so a big thanks to you guys. For us WHC members this is why we should do an effort to join in a decent amount of strat ops outside of our own campus. WHC member or not, if you start getting bored as a Ferox on strat ops I recommend training into Basilisk to get access to the logi channel with all the best memes.
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Jack Colquitt
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Jack Colquitt »

Thank you Nienke and everyone else who put so much time and effort into sharing your knowledge and insight. The AAR clears up some of the murky details that many Unistas and I were unable to verify ourselves. It looks like the stakes were a bit larger than usual and I can understand why the FC team and management wanted to preserve OPSEC to a much higher degree than is the case with most other Uni operations.

Once again, however, I'm afraid I'll have to don the mantle of the devil's advocate here--at least to some degree. It would be all too easy for any of us to dismiss the frustration that many felt at the time of the op now that it is more than a week ago and slowly fading from our memory; yet (i) the disingenuousness in indicating the destination as low- or null-sec on forum posts and (ii) the choice not to inform people of at least a rough estimate of time commitment required are two of the aspects that I still believe went too far and resulted in a lot of people feeling unpleasantly surprised.

Yes, one can argue--as Jilo did in the original discussion in the combat fleets subforum--that it served the purpose of maintaining the innocuous facade so that the spais remained oblivious to what was actually going on. In terms of the principle of proportionality, however, I think it took away more in terms of depriving people necessary information to make their best decisions as to whether they will participate in the event than it brought in by topping off the OPSEC jar. My personal compromise would have been simply designating the destination as [REDACTED] and putting in the extra caveat that the stratop may involve a more serious time commitment than usual. Whether or not doing so would have been a dead giveaway to the spais, we might never know and no one would be in a position to render an official verdict. I just think the compromise above would have served most of the Unistas better without sacrificing too much of OPSEC--my two cents for what they're worth.

It would appear that an operation of this nature, while doomed to recur, will be infrequent enough that we don't have to revisit it in some time. When it does come back, however, I would like to ask those in charge of planning the ops to keep in mind what happened this day and adjust the plans as needed.
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Gergoran Moussou
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Gergoran Moussou »

DonBasuno Ichosira wrote:WHC member or not, if you start getting bored as a Ferox on strat ops I recommend training into Basilisk to get access to the logi channel with all the best memes.
Don't bring T2 logi in a T1 battlecruiser fleet. They're just not worth it in there. T1 battlecruisers are good because they're cost-effective and adding more expensive hulls to the fleet reduces this advantage. Certainly, man-for-man, Basilisks and Vultures do more for the fleet than Ospreys and Drakes, but they make for shiny targets that will be primaried first and swing the losses pretty far in the other side's favor without providing enough of an advantage to be worth it.

If you're bringing T2 logi or links ships, it's a fleet that should fly something a bit higher-performing than Ferox for its mainline. Whether that's a faction cruiser fleet, a HAC fleet, a faction battlecruiser fleet, or something else is not my decision since I don't have any input in Uni doctrines

I've flown enough logi that a hostile FC has called me "the luckiest logi pilot alive" because of how many times I've gotten away from him when he's called me primary. I definitely agree with Don's point about logi comms. Logi channel generally has better conversation than fleet main channel in almost any corp/alliance/coalition that I've flown with. I usually sit in the quiet channel (my alliance is generous enough to provide two quiet channels, one of which allows me to hear capital commands as well as subcapital commands, since capital operations have their own subchannels of our fleet comms for OpSec reasons) unless I'm in some role which needs me in another channel to coordinate. Any of those channels, if it has conversation aside from the stuff pertaining to the role, has more interesting conversation than the main channel.

If you're bored of F1-monkeying, find something else to do in the fleet. Don's suggestion of cap-chaining is one such role. In addition to your F1 ship, you could fly an alt in an interceptor or Sabre. You could do recon.

Overall, it looks like the op went well. Mike makes a few good points. In a StratOp, there's an objective. If the strategic purpose of the operational objective is something other than "content," you're going to want to prioritize winning the objective over having an exciting and brutal fight. If you lost the objective in this, you would have lost far more than would be worth any sort of enjoyable fight. I've been in a few exciting StratOps. They wouldn't have been possible without the boring ones. Most of those have something to do with structure timers. Most of the time, one side shows up and the other side doesn't think it's worth contesting. There is essentially no other choice besides concealing information to make sure that nobody who does not need to know finds out. I understand why Arin is frustrated, but there's really no other option. With the open recruitment policy of EVE University, you have to be careful. There's too much at risk to just tell everyone what the objective is if it's something like this. EVE University's basic concept prevents it from being the kind of organization where that would be feasible. There's no way to be sure that spies aren't present. They're probably not the people who you keep talking to (since most spies want to keep a low profile in order to avoid getting caught), but they're around, not just to target E-Uni, but to build up a background story in order to get a spy into another organization. It might seem like it's an insult to the people who you talk to and fly with every day, but because of the recruitment policy, there are many others who you don't talk to who can read the same communications. Therefore, it's important to compartmentalize information. If your role in the operation doesn't require knowing something, you don't need to be told. The command, recon, and logistics people (and by "logistics," I mean actual logistics work, not Guardians and Ospreys and stuff) are generally the people most likely to need to know.

Even in a corporation/alliance where recruits get carefully vetted (possibly requiring a vouch), it's rare for it to be feasible for line members to get access to all information.

That being said, my reaction when I see information obviously hidden from me is that I want to find out what it is. For example, a mention of an enemy in this AAR. I'm probably never going to find out who that is, but that's something that I'd like to know. If you have that tendency too, volunteer to do some recon. Having an alt watch a hostile staging or follow a fleet around while your main is flying an F1 ship is one of the easiest things that you can do which allows you to figure out more of the big picture of an op.
Former E-Uni FC (LSC/WHC).

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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Shar Thrityh »

Well, this explains why I suddenly lost a clone and a large part of my hoard :-) I used to be a part of the WHC, but I haven't played Eve for several years now, so I guess I'm part of the reason why this Op was necessary! I'm casually logging in to my character every half year or so, partly out of nostalgia and partly to check that my stuff is still where I left it. So when I logged in yesterday, I was quite surprised to suddenly find my main back in Jita and no assets remaining in the WHC. Especially since I didn't find any juicy killmail showing ALI blowing up in spectacular fashion, I was quite confused about what had happened.

Thanks for the write-up! It's helped me figure out what happened. From memory, I know I had some cool ships in there (several HACs, T2 Logi, T3 destroyers, Gila, etc), so I'm glad to know that they were recovered and going to be put to better use than just rusting in a hangar! But it also stings a little: I have always been playing with the idea of some day maybe starting Eve again and rejoining the WHC and now a part of my personal history is gone.

(and the industrial complex in Uphallant has apparently also been gone for several months, without asset safety, that one also stung, as I had my rig manufacturing set-up there)

Looking forward to the glorious explosions Unista's can now create with "my" small contribution to your fleets!
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Biwako Acami »

We tried all available means to reach out to members including sending out of game emails to active WHC members for whom we had slack/lootsheet emails for. There are definitely a few cases where it falls short, especially when access to a PC is limited.

If you're looking to play EVE again I would reach out to WHC/E-UNI management and see if there's anything that can be done to get you back up to speed. You won't get your stuff back now but for people who were completely invested in WHC and are now down to 0 assets you should get something.
Just a humble scout
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Shar Thrityh »

Perfectly understandable and thanks for the offer :) As I haven't really checked my Eve-specific mail account or any communication channel, that's totally on me. Luckily, I still have some ISK set aside as well that should help me get started again, if needed.

But I have to admit, with the recent news coverage of Eve thanks to the biggest battle ever, I might feel a certain itch for space explosions that's going to need scratching :D
Who knows, maybe I'll start playing again in the future.
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Cedric Redfist
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Re: [AAR] WHC Unanchoring Strat-op

Post by Cedric Redfist »

Biwako Acami wrote:We tried all available means to reach out to members including sending out of game emails to active WHC members for whom we had slack/lootsheet emails for.
I understand that lootsheet mails are our character names, in email format.
I'm confident that a mail like this is rarely, if ever checked.
Perhaps the Uni should build a mail database of more frequently checked mail accounts of its members in order to reach them reliably with news like this.
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