Continuing my side-project of the TDZK histories, this long-overdue thread will deal with the 'item' round of 2.3.History of TDZK: 2.0History of TDZK: 2.1History of TDZK: 2.2
History of TDZK: 2.3 (You are Here)History of TDZK: 2.4History of TDZK: 2.5History of TDZK: 2.6History of TDZK: 2.7History of TDZK: 2.8
While this is mostly from memory and my own records, I am indebted to the many people whose logs, accounts and saved stories provide me a much more solid basis for all of the accounts presented here.
_________________________________________________________________2.3Political Backdrop: Renegades and Discordia together re-formed IGF for 2.3 who allied with Fury. Fear Factory started the new round without allies, under the new name of StarShip Troopers. GTG allied with KAOS, while STS started the round without allies. HOLY and Pods'R'Us merged with the former members of Iron Ring and Platinum to form Iron Angels, who allied with new alliance Sovereign. These two were friendly with a new relation between HH, XF and CC. Silver Horde allied Polar Mist, a new alliance formed predominantly from the Swedish community in Phoenix.Gameplay Changes: This round saw the debut of items, which could be found in resource-rich sectors by using resource scanners. These items could be sold to stations for significant amounts of income. Stealth coating was introduced as an upgrade, allowing the first stealthships. Meson secondaries were introduced, which provided a solid partner for Doomsday primaries as they shared the particle superclass.Items: Items - Midas Crystals, Telurian Crystals and Proteus Spores - could be generated in space by resource scanning. This required scouts and speed to efficiently resource scan, and cargo holds to haul the items to the station. Carriers were the best platform to do this with, having both significant drones and some holds. However, this opened the opportunity for group iteming - with some ships dedicated to simply scanning for the items, while others would sell them to the stations. The income from iteming was greater than trading. When done in a group, the efficiency was even greater and even more money could be made. In addition to this, it was a very safe income method - typically with multiple ships in a single sector, they were unlikely to be found or easily intercepted. These iteming ops could even be escorted if necessary, and there was no requirement on trading or other ability, nor significant time commitments. This easily available money caused huge imbalances throughout the round.Early Round: The beginning of the round saw alliances settling in their now-typical systems. Fury and IGF settled in Antalon (23), while KAOS again headed for Zane (17) alongside GTG. SH and PM evicted AD and GC to claim Dathkara (19), while XF, HH and CC claimed Tolera (33) and Iron Angels took Tulven (32). AD split with GC and allied with STS, the two claiming 30k. A quick early war took place as IGFury immediately attacked Unbroken Fellowship, Dynasty Raiders and new allies Virus. This short war was rapidly concluded in favour of the aggressors. The main story of the first weeks was when SST, who made a fast start, attacked IA. The aggressors were dominant in this early war but it ended in surprising fashion when they were almost all disabled for sharing accounts. There were also early issues with iteming prompting two hasty fixes - the first halving the turn-in value, the second preventing the exploit of resource-scanning under exploratory turns.IGFury vs LoF: Following their early war against UF, DR and Virus, IGFury followed this with another quick war against Imperials, which again ended in their favour. The next target was LoF, who occupied Peridon (25) and Elanna (24). The LoF planets were taken by the IGFury raid fleets, and a strong jump ended the sole retaliatory planet raid attempt against them. This effectively ended the war and LoF faded into inactivity for much of the rest of the round.The Trilogy Concludes - SH vs Fury: Having fought SH & allies in each of the previous two rounds, it was always likely that Fury (alongside IGF) would fight them for a third consecutive round. This came true when a SH/PM fleet suddenly struck at the main IGFury fortress of Asgard, nearly capturing it. Frenzied restockers held them off and the war had begun. IGFury retaliated with a lengthy siege of the main Polar Mist planet in Sewell (10). Despite a huge restocking effort, the planet eventually fell. The extended raid drained the turns of both attackers and defenders, postponing significant further action.War Erupts - SovIA Raid the Big Pebble: Arguably the biggest war of the round began when SovIA without warning raided the KAOS fortress of Big Pebble. This was the biggest KAOS planet and at the time one of the biggest planets in the game. The unexpected attack was able to take advantage of the unprepared defenders and there was no significant defence or restocking effort. The planet fell without interference and a significant number of KAOS and GTG ships were ejected and subsequently dispatched. War was declared and one of the major conflicts of the round was under way.The Siege of Asgard: Probably one of the best known incidents of the 2.3 round was the 'six hour' long siege of Asgard by Silver Horde and Polar Mist. This is the first known instance of a planet having been population-drained, as over fifty online players - including an unparalleled five raid squads - assembled to hit the IGFury stronghold, the second biggest planet in the game after Tyr.
While the initial raid went slowly through the defenses and large numbers of restockers were online, the population consistently dropped from the huge assault as three raid teams fired constantly. Bugs began to be apparent at the planetary refresh as the power refresh failed. As the population and manpower dropped, the stocking became more important as the defenders saw the scale of the assault. As the population kept dropping, the full force opened fire as all five teams battered the planet, restocking keeping it alive but the population was at critical levels.
As the attackers eased off before the refresh, the manpower was too low. The attackers expected the planet to fail now and their raid teams would be able to easily finish off the stricken defenses. But massive bugs were found as the refresh failed and happened multiple times, baffling both attackers and defenders. Admin involvement to try and fix these bugs didn't help and only added inevitable controversies to the conflict. Without the planet failing the attackers couldn't defeat the restockers, the raid was called off, raiders pirated, and the war was ended in a draw not long after.The Galaxy Elsewhere: While the main battles of the round continued, there was plenty of conflict elsewhere also. HH, XF and CC had earlier attacked STS and AD, but sportingly ended the war after personal issues affected STS leadership. HH and CC later disbanded, with members of the two forming a new alliance by the name of Eonian Phantoms (EP) or joining up with IA. An increasingly inactive STS parted ways with AD, and later merged with Swarms of Chaos to form STSC, inheriting their allies GC. These two later warred AD in an inactive conflict won by the latter in a series of improvised raids. Towards the end of the round, Polar Mist concerned themselves with playing with the reintroduced Scourge NPCs, but a late round effort against the Scourge Mothership was unsuccessful.Power Cut - Deheune and Tyr Go Down: The long-awaited counterstroke of KAOS and GTG was made against the two huge IA fortresses, Tyr and Deheune. These expensive planets would require a significant force to take, especially after KAOS had lost much of their fleet with the loss of their planet. Dedicated item-scanning took place as KAOS and GTG built their funds for the assault. The first to fall was Deheune, the lesser of the two. This fell with relative ease to the two raid teams, but yielded few kills - more IA would be sheltered on Tyr. This was the biggest planet in the game.
The expensive raid teams besieged the IA planet. The strategy was for the planet to be power drained, as sufficient force for a traditional assault was minimal. No IA were online to restock - the different timezones of the predominantly North American KAOS/GTG and the predominantely European IA being a major factor. Without a single restocker, the huge planet was gradually drained until the power failed, and the planet defenses quickly dropped. The bulk of the SovIA fleet had been sheltered on Tyr - there were 70 ejectees killed, as well as a further 4 from EP. Three KAOS ships were lost in the dispatching of the ejectees. The IA fortress in KAOS hands effectively marked the end of the war.
Item funding and dedicated funds meant that there was still a retaliation from IA, as they immediately attacked Tyr again. However, this raid was broken up by an impromptu jump from IGFury, the jumping forces clearly winning and the raid was ended. No further efforts were made and the round ended barely a week later.Individual Achievements: As was becoming the standard, significant individual achievements were relatively minimal, and none of the individual performances in their respective categories were particularly noteworthy on a cross-round level, the most deserving of mention being Pitchoun's clear experience lead without significant alliance support. As a tribute to the success of the IA squad which camped the Manchari-Joreal node throughout the round, sector 14014 was renamed to Wolverine's Den. In an ironic twist, Wolverine was disabled shortly after for multiing.Tactical Notes: Items allowed the funding of expensive ships and probably the highest ship levels outside of the interest rounds. It also meant less trading and more players shipped at any one time. Warbirds were more expensive and level 250-260s were quite common. Design still followed 2.x standards, with bubbles being the norm for group combat and droneships common practice for solo ships. The particle combination of doomsday fusion cannons and the new mesons was widely used as a powerful superclass pair.
This availability of money also funded expensive raiders to counterbalance the expensive planets. This allowed AI raiding as the standard approach. The biggest planet raids were of AI raiders with significant armour on top to provide the necessary buffer. This was the model used for the initial SovIA raids on Big Pebble, and a larger version of this for the KAOS/GTG retaliation against Tyr. This round also saw the use of drone-raiding come into play, particularly on heavy EMP planets - although due to availability of reloading it was restricted to neutral systems, and really only feasible against undefended planets.Round Summary: Items caused a wildly imbalanced round, with money readily available. Some of this resembled elements of a chaos round, with players mostly shipped, above average ship levels and funds constantly available. Safe money meant that bigger planets and bigger raid teams were available, and the biggest events of the round revolved around these larger planets. But the iteming mechanic was clearly flawed and the round would be remembered for this.
To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself.
- Albert Einstein