Destruction of Keepstar in Rage

I read this article about the destruction of the wormhole Keepstar in a system called Rage by the locals.

The impossible year-long plan to destroy EVE Online’s deadliest fortress | PC Gamer

It’s an interesting read and I thought it was cool. I did get some questions from reading it however.

It seems The Initiative brought in supplies into Hard Knock’s wormhole using freighters. This raises a few questions for me.

First, why on Earth did the Imitative bring freighters into low sec systems? DSTs can use the cloak trick. If there is something they need to bring into the hole that doesn’t fit in one (say an orca or a Fortizar or whatever) wouldn’t a JF work better since it can bypass low sec gate camps?

Second, why was this not noticed by Hard Knocks? I get that if no one is on grid, they won’t see a freighter. If the hole the freighter comes in isn’t even their static, in a quiet hour it’s possible no one was on grid. So Hard Knocks would be doing their own thing, maybe mining an ore anomaly, maybe leaving their base to look for PVP content, and at the very least I expect people to be doing some PI. With freighters coming in, wouldn’t one of them be noticed by chance? I’m not saying some guy doing PI and seeing a freighter on D-scan is going to be able to dock, reship, and tackle the freighter before the freighter safe logs out. But surely he’d tell people on comms “hey freighter, we got a loot pinata” right? Even if there is an Imitative guy cloaked up inside Rage telling his allies what he can see, the scout wouldn’t be able to predict when some guy inside a citadel decides to undock to do PI. If the freighter warps from a WH to whatever his safe is, enters warp, and then some guy decides to undock and do stuff at the planet near the WH (remember all signatures are within 4 AU of a planet), the odds are high he’ll be spotted.

Third, what would happen if 3 of the freighters were destroyed at the start of the fight? Now that sounds implausible but hear me out. I was in null sec before and a Blackbird ECM ship joined the DPS wing by mistake and warped with the wrong group. In same fleet, some guy in a venture joined the battle fleet by accident and got the fleet warp to the gate. In neither case this resulted in a loss of the ship, but such a mistake could have resulted in a loss. Likewise in rare cases I have seen people warp to the wrong bookmark.

I guess it would depend on what is actually inside those freighters. We know they brought Ravens, so that’s one thing. Assuming they use the same supplies as the Hole Control eviction script, they interdictors for tackle, a control tower to act as a staging point, a Fortizar to act as a better staging (I have no idea why some WH eviction attempts bring a POS to anchor when they intend to anchor a citadel), service modules for said citadel, some ships that can use covert ops cloak, one or more command burst ships, and ammunition.

Let’s say the freighter containing the citadel, one bringing dictors, and one bringing battleships were destroyed, but the one carrying POS and its arrays and most of the battleships are still intact (one Charon couldn’t possibly fit all the Ravens the Initiative used that day so even if one was destroyed they’d still have most).

Or maybe I’m wrong in speculating what was brought over and they never anchored a Fortizar. From that article the only thing I knew for sure they brought were battleships. If someone knows I’m wrong with what they brought, just say 3 freighters were destroyed because someone put them in the wrong wing (or fleet) and they got stuck in fleet warp and didn’t cancel warp in time becuase they didn’t know they were going to the wrong place.

With the destruction of the 3 freighters, what would the impact on the attack on the Keepstar be? The Initiative would still have over 300 guys in Rage in stealth bombers and most of their battleships. They could just bring in more supplies through a wormhole chain right? I know from the article that a fleet of Munnins was on the way to the rescue, but surely the Initiative would have an easier time getting stuff in since they control the grid on Rage’s static.

Ok back to the article. The rescue effort consisted of artillery Muninns. If anyone is confused, this was when they were an artillery ship. The article says they intended to harass the enemy battleship fleet while warping away every time the battleships retaliate. Now that’s fine in theory, but would it work even if they warped to the right place? Wouldn’t the Initative have some ships capable of reaching a Muninn to tackle it and allow their fleet to blap it?

The article finished with the tale of the destruction of Rage’s Keepstar and mentions how the group did want to paint a big target on their backs. They did lose ships, but on the other hand they did make history for having the first Jspace keepstar, something no other group will ever be able to say. That might be worth it.

The final questions I have is not about Rage specifically, but about these evictions in general.

Sometimes victims just load up a bunch of stuff in a freighter and logout inside a doomed structure hoping to just get stuff out later.

Some might come back 3 days after structure deduction. Some might come back after 3 weeks. Some might come back after a year. Obviously different people make different decisions. But whatever these decisions would be, there must be an average or arithmetic mean of how long these people wait. What do you think that average would be? I mean we have no hard data, but I’m sure some people think they know the answer and maybe one of these people is actually correct.

Is there any point in camping the site of a destroyed structure hoping to catch the freighter pinata? The freighter pilot would surely use a scout and see an interdictor or a mobile warp disruptor and then decide to not login with the freighter. You can camp the spot of the destroyed structure all year, I don’t think this is going to work. Plus, the freighter pilot probably would have a combat toon in case you try to hide a cloaked ship on the spot.

I’m not well known with WH evictions, but I can answer the first point:

I think that ‘getting past LS gate camps’ was the least of their worries for this eviction operation.

Jump freighters carry a lot less than freighters, are significantly more expensive and have no use of their jump drive in WH space. It makes much more sense to bring freighters than JFs if the cargo hold of DSTs is not enough.

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Not familiar with evictions specifically, but I do have plenty of experience living in WHs, so I can answer some of your questions:

First and foremost, there is no local in wormholes. (More specifically, you only show up in local after you send a message.) This simple change means you don’t know who’s in system with you until either they talk in local, you see them on your directional scanner, or they land on grid with you. It is incredibly easy to hide in wormholes. This is why, when you listen to HK comms when Init sprung the trap, they were talking about mutaplasmids and ratting fits for about 10 minutes, blissfully unaware that a 700 man Stuka fleet was forming on their static wormhole.

Second, wormhole space is also very empty. (At least until a cloaky loki decloaks next to you.) Because of this, the entire culture of wormhole space revolves around finding good content and giving good content to others. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to do something like post a scout on your static wormhole all day because 99.9% of the time, they will both see nothing and are unable to contribute to this constant search for content. There are other indicators that someone else is in system, like probes on dscan, but these won’t necessarily materialize into anything and you want to avoid constantly chasing ghosts you can never find.

Lastly, Init plainly had very good opsec. They minimized their time in system to avoid being seen either on dscan or jumping the wormhole, and they also sent in the freighters slowly and when HK was less active so there were less people potentially around.

At the start of the fight, it probably wouldn’t have mattered as much, since Init had an entire (nullsec) campaign’s worth of ships and materials in at that point. (WH campaigns are much smaller in scale than NS, so Init had a significant advantage by the time they attacked.) More concerningly, what would happen if HK caught one of the freighters sometime during the ~12 months of seeding? If a single freighter gets caught, that would’ve tipped off HK that something was up, giving them a chance to watch for more materials coming in and counter-seed defenders. That is a huge risk that Init took, but they managed to pull it off, which is what makes this campaign so incredible.

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Huh I didn’t know that. I always hit every planet doing my PI weekly back in the February to April timeframe. Since each WH spawns within 4 AU of one, if a freighter came out a static during my PI run I’d have found it while doing my PI. I don’t look for freighters but combat probes and ships, but I would find one if that happened.

I mean obviously the best time to sneak something in when the corp is not doing that stuff, but since they needed to sneak multile freighters in I would have thought they’d have seen one on d scan just by chance.

Thanks for replying!

Just wanted to add one thing: HK did notice one sign that could have tipped them off about the Init invasion, but they didn’t comprehend the significance of it. They did notice a pattern of their static wormhole suddenly becoming critically destabilized just before downtime, enough that it became an inside joke. But they didn’t see it as a warning sign of something bigger and instead just laughed it off. In reality, this was caused by Init’s freighters coming in. This is probably the biggest opsec lesson learned from this campaign.


I’m not sure that anything about this campaign is “incredible.” This seems to be merely yet another example of The Initiative. raping babies by only going after groups they outnumber at least ten to one.

The deep irony is that on an individual basis, The Initiative. members actually possess no initiative of which to speak. Out of the decent handful of The Initiative. players I’ve killed recently, literally 100% of them either begged me to stop shooting, called me a scumbag and/or other worse things because I was attacking them while they “weren’t in PvP mode,” or fed me that generic line about me not being so tough if I “came to their space.”

Considering that The Initiative. has been riding Goonswarm’s coattails for as long as they’ve existed, they’re wholly unimpressive compared even to their relatively unimpressive handlers. The Initiative.'s member base is essentially like sewage runoff from the rest of the Imperium; bad players who role-play elite spaceship warriors by only engaging in the “real” PvP they’re fond of pontificating about when they have enough ECM on grid to ensure that their vastly-outnumbered enemies aren’t able to shoot back.

It’s not real PvP to blob a newbro Keepstar that can’t shoot back. Init’s operation was just another niche Pk play.

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Well if you’re trying to imply we should subscrbie to the premise PVP should only be done against things that can’t shoot back, a Keepstar does have more capability to shoot back than an Orca so maybe we shouldn’t use this premise.

Moving on to Malachi’s

I’m still amazed that they noticed the destabilization of the hole but never managed to spot them on d-scan. Sure the Initiative had a guy in the hole who could be eyes and would say things like “wait, they’re using it right now. Let’s wait another hour” and if they were trying to squeeze one freighter in I can see that happening. But to get more than a dozen in, some guy in the Keepstar might just decide to undock to do something and he did so after the freighter jumped into Rage, it would be awkward. If the initiative wnated to avoid any freighters being spotted, they’d have to avoid this happening even once.

A Keepstar can’t shoot back if it’s AFK, same as an Orca.

Keepstars have to multibox… and buy an anchoring permit.

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Init didn’t even give hard knocks a warning, they just went in on full griefer mode and act like blobbing a Keepstar is real PvP, but it’s just niche Pk harassment.

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How dare they :rage:

Yeah of all the people who called the Initiative a bunch of harassers this is pretty ironic isn’t it?

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