Sooo… What happened?
So for those of us living insulated lives in Empire, or even the less interested parts of Nullsec, there’s a lot of Schadenfreude regarding Z9PP. There’s lots of facts, there’s lots of conjecture, and there’s lots of butthurt. I want to talk about what this means for the war. Moreover I want to talk about what it COULD have meant.
Over 100 carriers and some Blap Dreads were trapped on the field, apparently more or less doomed “Eventually” to an ugly death. I doubt that even skating to downtime would have saved them depending on when the last bubbles dropped and how fast CFC logged back in.
Reinforcements were apparently almost entirely in CFC’s favor. This is an ugly situation for Test to be in. CFC had the ability to slowly start eliminating Test carriers and once that got started the snowball likely would have been fast. Test was in trouble and they knew it.
At this point the bit of blind screaming luck that can change the course of empires shows up. Namely the hand of a CCP engineer. We’ll call him CCP Johnny
Johnny is in a hurry, and rather than moving other systems off the server in question, he moves the IMPORTANT system. Johnny is probably related to Tuxford but that’s not important now. The result is the system goes down long enough that the carriers get to log off, and stay off long enough to GTFO. Test got out of a major crisis with very little actual harm. Here’s how I see things happening with 4 paths of outcomes.
First off let’s assume that somehow Test manages to get away somehow. Coasting to DT, PL coming up with something amazing even for PL (Yes I can read Kugu, I’ve read the AAR there, it’s good) CFC completely falling apart, whatever. HUGE morale boost for Test. MASSIVE. Getting their balls into the bear trap then pulling them out even remotely intact would give them something to chestbeat about for a while. Seriously, it would be an amazing bit of leadership for them. The odds of this are REALLY low I’d think, but possible.
Second let’s go the other way. Test’s fleet is utterly whelped and the CFC turns out to be completely right, the fleet turns out to be the skyscraper that breaks the camel’s back, neck, legs and spleen. Morale crashes through the floor so fast the floor doesn’t even notice and Test is thrown WAY back in the campaign even as Goons morale soars. Goons get to move the line in Fountain, moons, stations, whatever they want, as far as they can and start to build Sov time towards expanding the all-important jump bridge network. The war isn’t over, but the momentum would be entirely in Goon’s hands.
Next we’ll look at a Test whelp that is mostly handled by the SRP fund. Test manages to handle most of the critical losses, and keeps their fleet in the field. This is rather more likely, even if I think it would be a huge strain on their resources. Goons morale still soars, but without the catastrophic crash to Test morale CFC cannot grab the momentum with both hands and seize control of the warzone.
Now we’ll look at Test getting beaten, but not whelped. This would require Test to lose a significant number of ships, yet still hold together well enough to GTFO even as their losses begin to cascade as fewer and fewer reps are available to land on any remaining ships. Once the carriers started popping the popping was going to keep going. Accelerating and finally outright snowballing. This would have been bad, but far less of a strain than being crushed and even if the SRP fund is marginal it should be able to absorb the loss. This also would have given Test a “Bloody but unbroken” chance to wave the banner.
What we have instead is a thoroughly unsatisfying disaster. CFC has been robbed of the chance to really dig their claws into an utter victory. They most likely would have finished it off, but even if they had failed they’d know for sure what happened. They wouldn’t be left with this frustrating, infuriating sense of being robbed. Test on the other hand has scored a “victory” that they cannot trumpet, that they cannot celebrate, that they can only acknowledge (but probably not humbly) The glass is half full (of carriers actually) but it is ungarnished, simple and stark. They got their carriers, but they also have no answers. They cannot prove their SRP is healthy, they cannot chestbeat about their impossible victory, or even snatching a draw from the teeth of a crushing defeat. They cannot commiserate about a tough loss against long odds. They can only sprint back to safety and marvel at their stunning escape.
Goons will be mad. They will continue to strike. They will attempt to hammer Test again, and try to draw their slowcats into another fight where they can hit them again like they did this time. Test will attempt to come up with a better method of extracting this fleet, and of defending it. Test morale will be down, but more “funky” than depressed. They know their best fleet got beaten, and only the invisible hand of fate saved it. CFC morale will be up, edgy and angry knowing that a deserved victory was snatched from them, and possibly a victory far beyond merely what was on the field.