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Convoys and SBUs in Tenal March 30, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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The forward deployment for the Tenal campaign continues.  It takes some time to get a group of alliances that consists of hundreds of people to pack up their suitcases and head to the far edge of our territory.

I was lucky.  I happened to have left a Drake only a few jumps away from our forward deployment point after an op a few days back.  It sounded, even then, like we might still be doing things up in Tenal to support Razor and the few systems they had grabbed in the region.  So I used a jump clone to get back to home turf, leaving the clone and the ship to wait for my return.

Western Tenal - March 29

Well, the war has been heating up.  As I mentioned, Raiden and its allies stepped up the pressure on the CFC, hoping to find us confused and demoralized after the events surrounding The Mittani and the Alliance Panel.

Part of that pressure was an attempt to reclaim the few systems in the Tenal region we had grabbed.  And that meant dropping Sovereignty Blockade Units in those systems so that they could be contested and captured.

This is an SBU

Just to show how things go around, I was part of the screening operation that covered Razor when they planted SBUs in these systems to take them from Raiden in the first place.  Now it was our turn to do what Raiden failed to do, destroy the SBUs.

There was a fleet announcement on Jabber while I was already on and figuring out what else I needed to bring out to forward deployment, so I figured I would see if I could tag along.  Despite being a call for an Alpha Fleet, which means Maelstroms, I joined with my Drake.  Nobody seemed to mind.  Everybody was still getting ships moved out.

I undocked at the forward deployment base, where there was clearly something going on.  A fleet of CFC carriers were there repping the station.  I am not sure what that meant, but it was more carriers that I have probably ever seen at once, so I took pictures.

Carriers repping the station

From there it was a jump out to a POS where a titan was waiting to bridge us out.  Jokes were made on coms because poor Zarks had lost a brand new titan earlier in the evening when, in attempting to open up a jump bridge to a cyno deep in hostile territory, he instead hit the wrong button and jumped the titan there.  And then hilarity ensured… for somebody.

Our titan driver was more careful and opened up the jump bridge to send us on our way.

Jump bridge open

Out in Tenal we set about blowing up SBUs.  I now have three SBUs on my kill detail for March.

Shooting a stationary object

SBUs are durable, but a hundred or so ships laying into one will take it down eventually.

When we completed that, there was a sudden call to get back down to VFK.  A hostile fleet was going to go after one of the towers that was coming out of reinforce.  We headed back to forward deployment as quickly as we could.  Dabigredboat (DBRB) told anybody who had a jump clone to jump to VFK or the vicinity and get in an alpha fleet ship.

I was actually ready for this.  I had a jump clone in VFK.  I was cleared to jump as my timer had already run down and I had my Maelstrom sitting in VFK.

DBRB had us switch fleets to the Alpha Fleet in VFK, told those of us who could to clone jump, to the rest to burn to VFK as fast as possible… and then said stop.  And then said go.  And then waited a few minutes and said hold up and then never mind and then called a stop to the whole operation.  The tower was already down.

At which point I and a lot of people were already in VFK.  So DBRB jumped to VFK himself and the open turned into a convoy to get more ships back up to our forward deployment.  I installed a new jump clone in VFK so I could jump back again at need.  They are relatively cheap and I can always destroy one if I use up my allotment. (The number you get is based on a skill, and I think I get 5 jump clones at where I am trained.)  I stayed in my Maelstrom, thinking that an Alpha Fleet ship would be the best thing to bring to the forward deployment next.

Maelstrom traveling to Tenal

At about this time The Mittani showed up on coms to talk about the war, Fan Fest, his getting banned, and other things people asked about.  This went on for a bit and then, to give us some entertainment for what looked to be a boring convoy op, Mittens agreed to tell a story from days past in EVE Online.

Story time is part of the great oral tradition of the Goons that brings players new and old into the history and traditions of the alliance.  It is part of their strength, that they immerse themselves in their history and bring new members along with them.  In fact, we had a new player, just two days into the game, on coms and in the fleet. (And, in the DBRB fleet tradition, he requested people send the new guy ISK, so suddenly he was very rich by his own measure.  100 million ISK is huge when you are new.  I feel like am I poor when I get down to a billion ISK these days.)

And then we ran into a gate camp.  We were spread out, traveling more as a stream than a convoy, as gates had been declared green all the way.  A Maelstrom got tackled in one system and there were a few reds in another system and people were trying to coordinate a response which was hindered by the fact that Mittens was telling his story and we could not get him to shut up.

The immediate theory was that he had recorded all these old stories and, when asked to tell one, would turn on the recording and walk away.  This was given credence by the fact that he seemed to press on with his tale without change of tone or pace no matter what was said on coms.

Eventually somebody pinged him by another method and it came out that with his new microphone setup he had accidentally turned off the sound and so thought he was telling the story to a silent and attentive audience.  There is a metaphor in that somewhere I am sure.

That got straightened out, people were rescued, the fleet arrived, and Mittens pondered the idea of actually recording these stories to be played on demand for story time.  Goons on Tape.

And so I got my Maelstrom and a load of ammo to the forward deploy.  Logistics in EVE… the actual moving crap around, not the cruisers… can be a bitch.  I still have a Hurricane I should bring out if we need a welp fleet, a back up Drake I should probably have on hand, and a Scimitar which I still have to figure out how to fly, but which I now have the minimum skills for to fly in fleet.

But we’re in for the long haul, so there will be time.

Dragons: April Fools Comes Early to World of Warplanes March 30, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Humor, World of Warplanes.
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Or so I hope.  This press release just showed up in my mail.

Here Be Dragons!

Majestic Dragons Add Fire to World of Warplanes

30th March, 2012 — Wargaming.net, the award-winning online game developer and publisher, is proud to announce the next faction to join the current set of nations in the highly-anticipated flight combat action MMO World of Warplanes: dragons! The all-new line of majestic creatures will set the sky on fire when the game enters its beta stage later this year.

The initial tech tree will include 12 dragons and will eventually expand to more than 60 creatures. Each mystical animal will have its own peculiarities and strategic employment. Players can upgrade several key characteristics including fire intensity level, color, number of claws, horns, wingspan and skin thickness.

The addition of these fire-breathing beasts will add more diversity to the gameplay since a dragons’ behavior requires a different approach in terms of controls and tactics.

“Adding dragons into World of Warplanes has been one of the most challenging aspects of game development so far,” said Wargaming.net CEO Victor Kislyi. “Dragons are so different from planes; they are much more edgy and self-willed, but if you put in just a little more effort, they will serve you well. I’m happy we’ve finally announced them!”

There are, of course, screen shots.

Dragon vs. Germans

Jets and Dragons

Flames and Biplanes

A dragon tech tree.

How to Train Your Dragon

And an accompanying video up on YouTube.

Just setting us up for the big “April Fools!” post on Sunday, right?  Please?

Return to the Foul Cascade March 30, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, Rift.
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It was Saturday night and time for a return venture.

The previous weekend was the wipe-fest in Foul Cascade, where we just could not bring down Matron Verosa in eight attempts.  Our goal after that was to get as much of the group up to level 30 as we could, find a bit of new equipment, train up skills, and basically try to give ourselves a bit more leverage in the situation.

We did not quite get the whole group up to 30.  Earl got there and I got Hillmar out mid-week to get him to level 30… and to then use all those glass beads from the Carnival of the Ascended to buy him some good level 30 gear from the World Event Merchant.  Glass beads can be traded in, at a rate of 1 to 1, for any of the past even currencies, and I had been playing that limited time mobile app to earn glass beads since the Carnival started.

I have won over 3,000 glass beads

That got me some upgrades.

So, when the time came around, the lineup for the evening was:

  • Earlthecat level 30 warrior
  • Hillmar level 30 cleric
  • Jollyreaper level 29 mage
  • Gizalia level 29 mage
  • Zahihawass level 29 cleric

Not all level 30, but close.  And at least the healer was loaded down with shiny new gear.

Remembering how many retries went by last week, we decided to save time and use the Looking For Group tool to teleport us into the dungeon.  No time to waste walking.

Group ready

I am always quietly disappointed that I never get to see ALL the icons filled in with that dialog.  Once the last person is ready, it goes away too quickly to get a screen shot.

And into the instance we went.

(Cut for the usual reasons, a spam of pictures and some spoilers.

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