The complaints initially levelled in this thread were not about an event that was railroaded or badly executed but about the conclusion.
Whether the event was good or not is highly subjective. The frustration of being there, yet unable to do something may be very well what the creators had in mind with this. This is the equivalent of someone getting yanked out of the middle of the squad (and devoured off screen) in an alien movie: This showcases that the Drifters are able to come in, remove the toughest/second toughest ship in EVE and moonwalk out, leaving everyone back in a confused/terrified state of mind.
Maybe it was there intent... It makes sense, but I still think it makes for a very poor GM-ing on their behalf. When you create a game, you do it for people to have fun. If people do not have fun, that it's a failure, whatever fancy trick you tried to show.
I would have been them, I would have made it go crescendo with a first wave of drifters maybe. Increase the pressure as more and more of the capsuleers on fields are cleared out. Then blast the empress in a dramatic climax when everyone is fighting like hell to protect her. Icing on the cake would have been to let the players influence if she is killed or not, but I understand it was the initial goal... Then you make the drifters stop their waves, and let the last ones serving as a way for players to take their revenge.
But maybe they don't have the team or the means to do that. Though from what I see, it makes me feel that they are very inexperienced at GM-ing in any case, and have pretty much never been.
Since TEA, and even past TonyG, they also almost always go for the grand standing epic edgy events that go all into cascading escalations. It feels always too much to me, and rather rubbish. It's also what makes most factions act like incompetent leaders because everything is shoehorned by the epic edgy needs of the story without much consideration for the side effects and logic.
You know, makes me a bit think of that bioware meme "you press a button, and it's awesome!".
You bet it is.