Category Archives: Null Sec

Back from Operations in Querious

Another deployment behind enemy lines has wrapped up.  This was our fourth deployment.  Previously we have been down in Insmother, Feythabolis, and Omist, the heartland of N3’s rental empire.  This time we moved to the southwest, to Querious.

Deployments so far

Deployments so far

(Somewhat out of date map from the usual source.)

This deployment was different from the last three.  While successful, those were really practice  runs to validate the doctrine and get used to living rough in the field behind enemy lines.  This time we had a serious operational objective, which was to force NCDot and friends to divert resources from its “invasion” of Fountain.

This was back when the CFC was in trouble, being besieged from Delve and Venal.  We were not going to be able to fight a two front war.

Only we did.  And we opened up a third front along the way, as the Reavers went out to shoot up unguarded infrastructure.

This deployment was also different in that we did not live rough, setting up a POS in the middle of hostile territory.  Because of the the way space is laid out in the southwest, we were able to get a room at the Royal Khanid Inn and Suites in a corner of Amarr high sec space to use as our staging base.

Royal Khanid offers HBO in every room

Royal Khanid offers HBO in all Captain’s Quarters

This gave us a few of advantages.  This gave us a safe haven to work from, like the Taliban in Pakistan.  It made resupply very easy as Amarr, the second biggest trade hub in New Eden, was fairly close and the Marmite Collective’s camp of Amarr was asleep at the switch, letting us wander in to buy things repeatedly.  Ships could be put up on contract to replace losses.  And death clones could be set to the station, thus removing the “I died and am now on the other side of the galaxy” problem with previous deployments.

It also meant that getting out there was easy for me.  My computer was down when we initially deployed, but I had a jump clone handy in Amarr, so was able scoot on down on my own without any drama and buy a ship from contract.

Finally, it also meant that we could jump clone back to other fronts if we wanted to.  I switched up and split my time between Reaver ops and flying on some operations in south Fountain, including the final push that removed NCDot’s foothold in the region.

NCDot was trying to deal with us in Querious with minimal forces for a while.  We would shoot up their SBUs, drop our own, and go away.  They would then return and shoot our SBUs and drop their own back.  A few times we got into later timers, shooting infrastructure hubs and even station services, but the idea wasn’t to take systems, it was to make them pay attention to us, something they really started to do after we killed four super carriers, which had been involved in the regular SBU shooting ping pong match, one night.

NCDot had given up on Fountain by that point, but after that they started showing up in force to oppose us.  They moved their super capital fleet back to F2OY-X and started forming Tengu fleets against us, obliterating us a couple of times. (ouch, 9 logi were not going to cut it) With that our ability to cause them pain with little effort ended, but it also meant our job was done.  The enemy had given up on their offensive as we reduced them to chasing our Ishtars around their own territory.

Shiny post-Rhea Ishtar

Shiny post-Rhea Ishtar

There were a couple of other attempts at operations.  Asher Elias handed out Crucifier frigates to all of us, with a plan for us to zip out to B-R5RB so we could be there when The Initiative took it back.  Site of the great titan battle back in January, it was taken back from NCDot this past weekend.  I still have a jump clone and the Dominix I flew during the fight holed up there, maybe I can get them out safely now… or at least put the Domi up for sale.

B-R5RB ownership swaps in 2014

B-R5RB ownership swaps in 2014

In one of those moments where you realize that the same names have been around for a while, further down the list it shows that The Initiative owned B-R5RB July 2009 until January 2011.

Unfortunately, as we were burning across space to get to B-R5RB, we hit an Against All Authorities gate camp in Catch that killed enough of us to break up the fun.  I was one of those who got blown up and podded.  But, having happened after the Rhea expansion dropped, the whole thing was an ISK-free adventure.  Asher gave me the ship and clone upgrades are a thing of the past.  I should go die more often in frigates.

We tried another Crucifier op later that evening, reshipping in Amarr again.  We were going to be one prong in a great DBRB trap, however the prey sensed something was wrong and fled, leaving us flying around low sec looking for something to do.

Crucifiers faffing about waiting for a target

Crucifiers faffing about waiting for a target

And that was about it for the deployment.  I flew my Crucifier straight back to Deklein from our last operation, where it will likely sit in a hangar with the rest of my “no longer or never were a fleet doctrine” ships.  So many Maelstroms, Megathrons, Apocalypses, and Drakes… oh the Drakes.  I’m going to start bringing Drakes on ops, I swear.

Now we are in something of a down period.  NCDot has other troubles so Fountain is off their agenda, Black Legion decided more fun was to be had teaming up with Brave Newbies to joust with Pandemic Legion in the south, Triumvirate, if I heard this right, apparently got dunked so hard that they issued a DCMA request to pull down a video of the fight (though, to be fair, I only know what I saw on Twitter and The Meta Show), leaving us with nobody except Mordu’s Angels as a regular foe in the north, and there is a CFC group camping them in 5ZXX-K, which is just a few jumps from our staging system.

Time to go out and earn some ISK.  Once a lot of people are on a holiday break, things are likely to heat up again.

Picking the Right Fleet – NCDot Supers Down in Querious

ENEMY SUPERS TACKLED GET THE FUCK IN FLEET RIGHT NOW

Web Broadcast to [SIG] Reavers from Asher Elias

I wrote something yesterday about picking the right fleet.  This is the fleet you want to get into.  So I logged in and burned to LS-V29 to join in on the fun.  We ended up killing:

I managed to get a combat drone out and get on the kill mails for those ships with an asterisk.  Again, there were so many bubbles on grid at one point that the background in my screen shots turned white.

Signs I am a bad Logi pilot

Signs I am a bad Logi pilot

This was one of those “happens once in a while and makes all the slow fleets worthwhile” operations, like CCP was trying to illustrate in their This is EVE 2014 video.  People were excited, comms were buzzing, but it was far from clear exactly how many capital ships, if any, we would be able to kill.

When I got on grid our FC, Asher Elias, was pretty sure we would get the Aeon and maybe one of the Nyx.  They were trying to get to the safety of their POS shields, and it at least one Nyx was very close before he inexplicably turned around and started motoring away.  There was also the looming threat of reinforcements. The Nidhoggur and the Chimera were dropped onto the battle to try an repair the supers and were chewed up for the effort.  Eventually a couple of fleets of hostiles were on grid trying to drive us off and we started taking significant losses when the last Nyx got into structure.  We had enough left in us to take him out, then the call went out to scatter, safe up, cloak if possible, and “fofofofo” in local.

Let us "fofofo"

Let us “fofofo”

Then we escaped back to our staging system.

We got a bit of a briefing in the fleet about how this was all planned out, with tacklers logged off in the system waiting for the supers to log in, but the full story will probably come out in the morning. (Addendum: Here is the tale from the CFC end, and from the N3 end of things.)

Meanwhile, this other battle happened.  It will probably dominate the new cycle.  A titan was killed… killed by Brave Newbies no less, an alliance that prides itself on taking new players into combat.  A lot of younger pilots got their first taste of an epic battle with capital ships on grid.  Good for them, and good for EVE Online.  But our own kills cannot be made less sweet, and the battle report shows (ZKillboard version) we lost about 9 Billion ISK in ships while destroying 125 Billion ISK.

 

The CFC Holds All of Fountain Again

Last week was not looking very rosy for the CFC.  With the loss of the LGBI-2 system in Fountain to N3 and aggression by Triumvirate in Vale of the Silent coming just after the opening of a campaign against Black Legion in Venal.  Wags at the not-CFC EVE News site were quick to ask if the CFC was in real trouble, facing a situation that was “just not feasible post-Phoebe.”

A week later though, things look a little less dramatic.  Staging out of a system deeper in Fountain, but withing the 5 ly titan bridge range, fights started over Y-2ANO.

South Fountain Area

South Fountain Area

After losing a contested timer fight over the weekend, N3 backed off and did not contest any further structure shooting ops beyond harassment and trying to pick off stragglers.  Northern Coalition lost sovereignty yesterday and, after a last minute push to bring down the onlining TCU, FA once more had control of the system.

LGBI-2 Sov Changes

LGBI-2 Sov Changes

And that went on while there were continuing ops in the north and Reavers running around in Querious shooting up infrastructure.  So I am not sure we were stretch too thin or between “between a rock and a hard place” as just not organized for the jobs to hand.  Once people got the right ships in the right places with jump clones in staging systems, things immediately got better.

Through the magic of jump clones I managed to get into fleets on each front over the last week.  With current skills I have 9 jump clones with a cool down of 20 hours, which is just about perfect.  I can pick where to land during my usual block of play time most evenings.  The trick is just to choose the right theater of operations.

Unfortunately, I seemed to have missed all the big fights.  The timer at Y-2NAO had so many fleets that we never went to Fountain, and just chased Black Legion and shot SBUs instead.  The final timer fight at LGBI-2 ended up being a non-event.  Our fleet just shot towers while waiting to see if N3 would show up.

An unfueled tower

An unfueled tower no less

And when that was done, I clone jumped down to the Reavers deployment just in time to miss the fight while FA’s TCU was coming online.  And then, with Reavers, mistakes were made.  So, yes, perfect so long as I choose correctly.  I will pick right one of these days, and I do get to take more screen shots of various ships and structures.

Black Friday for SBUs

Today looked like the day I would be able to really test the reformed computer.  Over the last couple of days there had been much hurffing on Jabber about a big fight coming today.  After taking LBGI-2, N3 had been pushing on the Y-2ANO, the gateway system between Delve and Fountain to the point that there was the potential for a final timer fight.

Losing that system would have been annoying, so the call was out for maximum pilots.

More than 1,200 pilots showed up.  Eight fleets were out roaming space.  And there was preciously little fighting going on.

N3 declined to show up, the numbers stacked against them.  So a few of the fleets went to Fountain and began cleaning up SBUs, reinforcing hostile staging towers, and basically pushing back on a lot of N3s work.  Such is the way of sovereignty warfare.

I ended up in Papusa’s Tengu fleet, flying a Scimitar.  We sat around while everybody else started the long drive to Fountain.  It felt a bit like we were being left behind.  We proceeded about the northern front to knock off hostile SBUs that had been dropped in some of our systems in the north and generally act as a deterrent to anybody who thought perhaps the cat was away.  A 250 ship Tengu fleet is a force to be reckoned with.

After about four hours of that, we arrived back in our starting system and felt like the lucky ones.  The fleets that headed off to Fountain from Deklein were still busying shooting structures while we were done for the time being.  I did not get a chance to test my computer setup against an epic scale space battle, but that was probably a good thing.  I spent quite a bit of time during the fleet just trying to get the fresh install of EVE Online configured the way I like it.  So many check boxes and settings.

I did get to start building up my screen shot library again.  Here are some pictures from our day out.

 

Returned from Omist

While my weekend… and, really, the last week… was spent mostly focused on World of Warcraft, I did find some time to drop into EVE Online.  I sort of had to, or end up stranded.

Shortly after the Phoebe expansion hit the game, as in the very next day, we deployed south again.  Our pre-Phoebe warm up deployments had been down in Insmother and Feythabolis.  We continued out our pattern of hitting the south by showing up in Omist.  Clearly we are out to annoy the N3 coalition and their vast tracts of renter space.

Deployments so far...

Deployments so far…

The deployment started with operations during European prime time and continued during the early US times, during all of which I was as work.  When I finally arrived home on the west coast another group was headed down, led by Baby Lemba, the FC of a thousand voices.  While I had initially planned to go south in an Ishtar again and actually shoot things, there was a call out for more space priests.  There is always a call for more.  So I swapped out the Ishtar for my Basilisk so I could keep the fleet in good repair.

The Basilisk, as a choice, seems odd to me, though I don’t pretend to understand the intricacies of these sorts of decisions.  Up until this point, the Scimitar had been the shield logistics ship of choice, being both fast and cap stable.  Having taken up the Basilisk, we gained a bit more shield repping power and a bit more effective hit points, but our logi are no longer cap stable.  Instead we have to cap chain.

Cap chaining is where CCP gave up on any last pretense of realism, kicked the laws of thermodynamics to the curb, and embraced a “sum greater than the total of the parts” solution because… they could, I guess.  The capacitor of the Basilisk, as fit for our doctrine, with modules running, runs dry in about 45 seconds, at which point all the modules shut down.  But if we mount remote capacitor transfer modules, lock up the next ship down the line and start sending them capacitor juice, the problem is solved.  The output of the cap transfer modules is greater than the amount needed to keep us cap stable and we can run all our modules all day so long as we stay within range of each other.

Logistics cap chaining

Cap chaining Basilisks

Which is fine.  Cap chaining isn’t tough, so there is a net benefit… until you’re the only logi in fleet, which happened to me a couple of times.  And then you are pretty much useless and wishing you had disobeyed orders and brought a scimitar.  But I am good and always bring the right ship with the doctrine fit, so when Lemba had us undock for the trip south I was in a Basilisk.

That Stratios though... that is not doctrine...

That Stratios though… that is not doctrine…

The wormholes were not being as kind as they sometimes are, and we actually had to travel for a bit to get to our end of the pipe down south, and at the far end we were a good 16 jumps away from the planned staging system.  The trip had its moments, as we caught a carrier along the way (though I didn’t have my combat drone loaded, so couldn’t whore on the kill mail), but a sense of urgency was on us as well.  Lemba changed our destination along the way as there was a fight already in progress.

Somehow, over in XGH-SH, we had gotten in and were with in a hair’s breadth of taking the station and perhaps even flipping the system.  We were unlikely to hold it, but it would be an annoyance if we made N3 retake it.  We dropped our larger ships, especially the industrials, from the fleet and started slow boating through gates in hopes of being able to make this happen.

However, by the time we had gotten there the hostiles had also thrown in reinforcements, including carriers.  We were told to safe up, use our mobile depots to mount our cloaks if they were not already on, and cloak up.  I made a couple of safe spots, got myself cloaked, and then waited.  After some time Asher told us that nothing more was likely to happen, the system was too hot for us at that point, so we should safe log off if we could.  Extraction ops would come later when things quieted down.

Safe log off in XGH-SH

Safe log off in XGH-SH

I remained stranded there for a couple days.  I missed the extraction operations, so started slowly working myself back to our staging system.  There were a couple of times when I was in fleet and trying to make my way to them, only to be waved off by the FC as there were camps between us.  So I lingered alone in hostile space, where at least I could provide some intel and be an annoyance.  I got locked up on one gate by Sholto Douglas of the Methodical Alliance, but he either didn’t have a point or his heart wasn’t in it, as I managed to warp off and safe up.  I chatted with him a bit in local, because this is EVE and line members of the various groups rarely seem to harbor the hostility that the leadership sometimes attempts to instill.

Eventually though, I decided to make a run for it.  I got online and into fleet to hear that they had a Nyx super carrier tackled just a few jumps from where I was safed up.  I had my combat drone in my bay, so I decided to get in on that kill mail.  I crashed gates, including one that was camped, until I joined the fleet.  The Nyx was deep into structure when I launched my drone.  My drone got there and managed to get at least a shot off, so when it blew I was on the kill mail.  I was the lowest damage contributor of those who did any damage at all, but I made it.

21 out of 3 million hit points!

21 out of 3 million hit points!

A super capital kill is always good.  I posted a few pictures of the wreck shortly after that fight.

After that though, it was back to shooting structures.  I do not mind those ops, even if being logistics on a structure shoot is the only thing more boring than being DPS on a structure shoot, if only because you have to pay attention just in case somebody starts taking damage.  And when you are the only logistics ship with a fit that requires a cap chain you can barely help with that.  I could save somebody for long enough for them to warp off, but then I would be running low on cap.  You need at least two in order to have a cap chain.

We did see the occasional amusing bits or pieces of space history, like an Atlas Alliance infrastructure hub.  Atlas Alliance closed down back in 2010.

Abandoned ihub

Abandoned ihub

But after a number of those ops, the allure of World of Warcraft and getting in some last minute achievements and prep for the expansion took over.  So I dropped out of space for a while.  I still watched the broadcasts and, judging from them I missed a couple of fights.  I also missed getting piped bombed at one point as well, which meant moving people back down to Omist again.  Being on the third such deployment in approximately a month, I was getting a bit tired.  The pace of activity is constant but can be wearing.  So I rested, parked down in Omist, waiting for the recall to sound.

The recall came in the form of a broadcast this past weekend which announced, in case we hadn’t heard, that we were headed home.  I hadn’t heard and was keen to get on the train back to Deklein.

Getting home turned out to be fairly easy.  What I guess I would call a “do it yourself” fleet was up, with instructions in the MOTD about how to proceed.  A wormhole had been found just a few jumps from our staging system in Omist.

Landing on the wormhole

Landing on the wormhole

From there it was in and out of a wormhole that deposited me in Pure Blind and on our jump bridge network, where I accrued my first bit of jump fatigue.   Boy, that is annoying.  I only had to take two jump bridges to get home, but there short wait while my jump timer counted down before I could take the second.  A comprehensive, pre-Phoebe jump bridge highway now seems like a complete waste of resources.  Better to place them strategically to lop off jumps from routes that would otherwise require many gate jumps.  But I don’t run GSOL, so I just take them were I find them.

But I was back home in Deklein.  And the first thing I did was clone jump to my implant clone in high sec to speed up my training queue a bit.  Since I was going to be focused on WoW for a while, it was probably the best place to be.  Meanwhile, we will hopefully have a bit of a break before the next deployment.  I think three such high tempo deployments, one after another, started to wear people down a bit.  Clearly the numbers responding to pings was declining a bit before I got involved else where.

As for how things went, I am not sure.  There were clearly some high points, and the hostiles had to pull forces into the area to counter our activities and clean up after us.  But I haven’t seen any numbers on how much actual damage we did.  If nothing else, we livened up what was a relatively quiet area of space.

Phoebe Arrives in New Eden

It has been more than a month since CCP Greyscale first announced, via a Dev Blog, the changes to long distance travel coming with Phoebe.  Now the expansion is here, and I hear it took longer to deploy than past expansions because it had to take gates.

As I predicted back then, despite the uproar this announcement caused in some quarters, the changes were pretty much set in stone. There were only a few tweaks to the plan, as noted in the appendices on the Dev Blog.  Industrial ships got a bit of a reprieve so that commerce can continue to flow between high and null sec.  Otherwise, jump fatigue and capital ships using gates are now a thing.

Traffic control for all the caps

Traffic control for all the caps

Now what will the change mean?  As CCP Greyscale said:

We expect the impact of these changes to be emergent, and as a consequence are unpredictable and will take a while to develop on TQ [Tranquility, the EVE Online live server]. This plays into our longer-term plans…

The sov holders in null sec each have a plan of their own, and hunkering down into a more defensible territory seems to be a common thread.  The CFC withdrew from Delve, Querious, and Period Basis in the southwest.  Pandemic Legion sold off much of their rental holdings in the northeast.  Northern Coalition set up shop in the southwest leaving what looks to be a power vacuum in the east, as that will be too far away to defend if push comes to shove.  Here is what has changed (maps from the usual source):

Oct. 1 vs. Nov. 4 map

Oct. 1 vs. Nov. 4 map

We’ll call that the first round of changes to the map of null sec, though it appears to still be in progress, with Perrigen Falls region going to a new alliance. (Though Circle of Two grabbed a system that linked to CFC space.)  I suspect that once things settle down that we will see some additional names on the sovereignty map, though I wouldn’t bet on them being names new to those positions.  And with sovereignty structures taking a hit to hit points we may get an idea of exactly how far away from its central base of operations a coalition can reliably defend sovereignty in a few weeks.  The structure changes ended up being:

  • Station Services: (-66% EHP)
    • -83% Shield HP
    • +50% shield resists
  • IHUBs and Stations: (-50% EHP)
    • -60% Shield and Armor HP
    • -50% Hull HP
    • +20% Shield and Armor Resists
  • SBUs: (-50% EHP)
    • -50% Shield, Armor and Hull HP

It will be interesting to see what the sovereignty map looks like by the time Rhea, the next expansion, arrives in mid-December.

Anyway, that has probably been the most talked about aspect of Phoebe.  As usual though there is more to the package, including a number of quality of life improvements.

First there is the unlimited skill queue. (Though I think I read that it is, in fact, limited to 10 years or some huge number of skills… 300 maybe? [50 says Jester] But effectively unlimited for any sane definition I guess.)  I remember five years back when getting any sort of skill queue at all seemed like a major boon, and now I will be able to queue things up for years at a stretch.

Training queue to infinity...

Training queue to whenever…

The updated sensor overlay looks good as well.

Compass around the capacitor ring

Compass around the capacitor ring

I know I had one minor nit to pick with the old one, which was that it was a pain to target anomalies in some systems as they tended to cluster together in a bunch, so clicking the right one could be a chore.  Of course, I haven’t run anomalies in a while, but this update also includes a keyboard shortcut for making bookmarks in space (Control-B by default), which will help with my new found need to make safe spots in hostile space.

The Phoebe expansion also includes:

You can find the full list of updates on the Phoebe release page and the gritty details in the Phoebe patch notes.

Now to go fill up my skill queue.

What will you be doing now that Phoebe has arrived?