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Fountain – The Fighting Goes On July 30, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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The war in Fountain has been declared over.

Boodabooda has said that TEST is leaving the region.  The CFC is busy picking up systems and knocking down the remaining TEST towers.  The latter seem to be all empty of strontium and conveniently labeled.  We hit one last night with the name “TEST R16 reimbursement fund moon.”

Who needs scanning?

Who needs scanning?

Systems are going our way.

Fountain - July 30, 2013

Fountain – July 30, 2013

The map is slowly turning our color.

Fountain turns yellow... eew...

Fountain turns yellow… eew…

What will happen beyond Fountain seems in doubt however.

Boodabooda is saying that the CFC will “almost definitely attack Delve.”  And certainly, in terms of chance, Goons attacking Delves seems only slightly less likely than there being a maintenance downtime on any given day.  It is almost habitual at this point.  They all have supplies and stuff sitting in stations from the last few ventures.  Even I still have stuff in Delve from last summer’s expedition.  So it is practically the natural order of things to head to Delve.

Arguing against an invasion of Delve are several factors.  It will be at least a month until sovereignty rises high enough in Fountain for a jump bridge network to be established to create a pipe into Delve.  It was a big deal for us to get the jump bridge from J5A to 4-EP, as it meant holding those systems for 35 days straight.  Now we have to wait that same 35 days after taking systems before a full jump bridge network can be established.

There is also the nature of the war from the CFC point of view.  The stated reason for taking Fountain was to possess the moons.  You may ascribe whatever additional sinister motives you like, but the moons are still important.  They are a source of income and they need to be protected.  We cannot all go back to Deklein and Branch and Tribute and expect these moons to remain unmolested.  Which means somebody needs to live in Fountain.  I expect that in a couple of weeks there will some realignment of sovereignty to cover the Fountain front, and a lot of people will be moving into new homes.  It is difficult to do that in the midst of a war.

And then there is the question of what happens if we do invade Delve.  Best case scenario is that TEST rolls over and dies, leaving us Delve in their will.  We march in and then face Northern Coalition in Querious and Tribal Band down in Period Basis.

The Delve Neighborhood

The Delve Neighborhood

Last summer when Delve was taken, the war moved immediately to Querious and would likely do so again, what with a competent foe holding a grudge and in possession of a lot of support sitting right there.  That means war with just about everybody from Cobalt Edge to Querious.  And while the most deluded conspiracy theories see total null sec domination as part of the vast Goon conspiracy, the idea of a great Goon donut strikes me a implausible.  Even if it were manageable militarily… and I wouldn’t grant that one… and could be held against all comers… and there would be many… I am not sure they could find enough competent and trustworthy satraps to administer and empire without them coveting each others possessions, fighting amongst themselves, or attempting to break with the empire altogether.  I think a Goon null sec Caliphate would be a very brittle entity before long.

And, finally, there is the fact that the war isn’t over.  Did I say that it was?  Yeah, I was clearly full of VF day enthusiasm when I wrote that headline.

Sure, TEST is pulling out of Fountain.  And they are not contesting timers any more.  Sovereignty is rolling over to us.  But there is no agreement in place, no peace plan in process.  Boodabooda is digging trenches in Delve waiting for the Goon onslaught.  We’re busy camping 6VDT station trying to keep TEST from evacuating anything valuable.  Gates are camped.  TEST is still red.

And just last night Northern Coalition and friends… and they let TEST tag along this time… attempted to pick off another CFC titan.  This time they dropped right into 4-EP to try and get it.  An observant CFC member noticed NC dreads in the system while a Baltec fleet that had been forming  for a structure shoot was able to jump right into the fight.  The siren went off on Jabber and a big battle ensued, with the NC fleet losing more than 20 capital ships.  And while they took down a few in return, no titans were killed.  Titans did, however, drop on the field and got to doomsday the hostiles.  See my current site banner (which I stole) or this NC video of the fight.   Here is the battle report.  (A write up at The Mittani as well.)

CFC kills in blue

CFC kills in blue

I missed that fight by just five minutes, but got into fleet in time to chase people all over Fountain and then go shoot some structures.

Titans were still hanging around when I got there

Titans were still hanging around when I got there

So fighting continues and seems likely to carry on for some time.  Grinding out sovereignty… even when uncontested… goes much faster with capital ships, and when capital ships are flying somebody will inevitably seek to blow them up.

Last night in comms, somebody said that TEST is the new Intrepid Crossing, an alliance that used to be on our border in Cobalt Edge and which we used to raid for fights, but which we never sought to conquer. (That is until Razor pushed the joke too far one day and IRC’s house fell over.  And now Razor owns Cobalt Edge.  Nice going.)  And that seems like an apt enough analogy.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of “win” in attempting to exterminate TEST, but having a hostile neighbor we can tangle with has value.  If nothing else, it gives us something to do and someone to fight on a regular basis.  That might not be something you would want in real life but, in a game like EVE, that could be the best possible situation for now.

Or such is the way things look to me.  But I am just a CFC grunt and the most exalted position I have ever aspired to is that of squad commander in a fleet. (I trained Leadership V somewhere along the way.)  I have no special insight into alliance politics.  I go where they tell me and shoot who the FC calls out.

So feel free to correct my assumptions and tell me where you think this whole situation is headed.

The War in Fountain While I Slept July 24, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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Since this past weekend the CFC has been “alarm clocking,” which is to say, fighting in what would otherwise be non-peak, working or sleeping hours for US and EU time zones.  The war has moved on to Australian time.  Ops have been planned for 08:00 UTC/EVE Time, which is 1am for me, which is too late for me to start anything on a weekend when I can sleep in, much less on a weekday when I have to get up and to go into the office a mere five hours later.  I am starting to yawn by 21:00 my time.

So I must salute those who have been making these fleet ops, which includes a number of the key fleet commanders.  They have made significant progress on the sovereignty front, and every morning when I wake up and check DOTLAN maps, TEST has lost sov in even more systems.  Last week I was able to sum up the CFC progress with a little map segment from the north end of the region when writing about our new staging system.

North Fountain - July 20, 2013

North Fountain – July 20, 2013

And we were happy to have that.  It proved our staying power and the slow and steady pace became our watch words.  When you are on the defensive, as TEST has been, you are losing if the enemy still holds your territory, and we certainly hadn’t been kicked out yet.

Today I have to drag out the whole region map to display all the systems turned in the last few days.

Fountain - July 24, 2013

Fountain – July 24, 2013

That is a pretty dramatic change in just a few days, TEST having lost sovereignty in a quarter of the 115 systems in Fountain, and one that should keep the not winning fast enough comments under control, at least momentarily.  Compare the Fountain system changes for June, where TEST and pals were pushing back hard and there were systems changing hands multiple times, with the Fountain system changes for July, which has been a constant theme of TEST loss and CFC gain so far.

There have been updates from The Mittani on CFC progress.

Of course, the balance of power has changed recently.  Northern Coalition, according to their recent state of the alliance, has been back in the east of null sec to fight the resurgent Russians of SOLAR FLEET, bringing Pandemic Legion along with it.  And NC has been strong in the AUTZ for a while now.  During the war in Tribute last year, one of the things we had to overcome was there ability to operate and dominate in that time slot.  There was an active recruitment effort on our side for what was dubbed “Arsehole Squad” to counter this. (And advantage the Goons have with their numbers is that, when there is a specific problem, they can form a special group, and fill it with qualified people, to deal with it.)

I am not sure we ever overcame NC dominance in that time zone, but we were able to make things annoying, which in the end made NC walk away from the region because the war had ceased to be fun and the threat of a hellish sov grind loomed.

So when it came to Fountain, NC was again able to use that time zone to their advantage.  The time zone war kept both sides in check.  But with NC out of the picture for the moment, the CGC rushed in to take over that time zone, which has lead to TEST losing systems and their allies in Tribal Band pleading for participation from its membership.

How long will this last?

If we are going to continue torturing the D-Day analogy in an attempt to apply it to Fountain, then the first part of the war was the bloody fight for Caen and Villers-Bocage.  At the forty day point we had only secured a foothold in Fountain.  Now we seem to be in the breakout and mad dash for across France for Paris, though I am not sure what system in Fountain would qualify as Paris.  Heady times and big gobs of territory being taken.

And while that was a great victory, a lot of hard fighting remained in the war after that.  Likewise, while we have made many gains, NC will be returning to Fountain at some point.  If nothing else, it is the only real war they have, given how they appear to be driving back SOLAR FLEET.  And if they are serious, we will be back to fighting and time zones and shooting SBUs and the slow grind of such things.

And the war in Fountain will continue.

Weekend War in Venal August 6, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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In null sec wars are like buses; if you wait long enough another one will show up.

Which is a good thing, since war and the accompanying fleet operations are my favorite null sec activities.

OTEC, which previously brought various parties together, isn’t quite holding together it seems.  The upcoming nerf to technetium production… which will either kill tech moons and make us all poor or is purely for show and won’t change a thing, depending on who is speaking… seems to have shaken at least one member of the coalition out of the ranks and into conflict with the rest of the cartel

Tech moons were already under attack in Venal, which like Stain, is one of the more amusingly named regions.  Black Legion and our old foes from the south, Nulli Secunda were on the move there.  But then Northern Coalition, a member of the cartel, joined in as well.  I do not know if this was a dispute over other cartel members dumping tech on the market and killing the price or if they were just looking for something to do after the “mate war,” but things were on. (I have to go listen to the intel collected from NC comms.)

And so the weekend consisted of a series of fleet engagements base on reinforcement timers, starting on Friday night.

Friday night was pretty much a bust for me.  The fleets started off before I was home from work so by the time I could log in everybody was headed for home.

I have one shot.  I happened to be on coms and at the staging system as fleets were coming back when Black Legion tried to hot drop on our Drake fleet in 9-R6GU.  There were carriers on the field and I burned out to join the fight.  However, by the time I got there not much was left.  I managed to lock up an Abaddon and get missiles launched before it blew up, so I got on the kill report with 0% of the damage.

Saturday morning though, that was a different story.  Everybody seemed to be hungry for a big battle.  One of Northern Coalition’s tech moons was coming out of reinforcement the word was that they were going to gather up some friends and fight for it.

On our side we filled up an Alpha, a Tengu, and a Drake fleet and then had to make another Drake fleet.  Even The Mittani logged in and got into a fleet.  Just moving ourselves from VFK to the staging system brought up some serious time dilation.

13% TiDi and we haven’t even left yet!

I joined up with the first Drake fleet.  The FC was Zarks who has the cool demeanor of a late night FM disk jockey (if such a thing still exists).  Somebody in the fleet was complaining that the FC was “shouting” at them, and idea of which made people laugh and openly mock the person.  I have never heard Zarks speak in anything but the most moderate tone imaginable.

To counter that, we did have Suas along to be the Drake anchor.  And unlike Zarks, Suas always sounds like he is shouting with that finely honed British tone of voice that seems to imply that we are all morons because he had to even bring up a particular item, much less shout it at us to get us to pay attention.  So it was sort of Good FC/Bad FC.

We slowly bridged out to Venal and started burning towards the target system, N6G-H3.

Red in the ships/pods killed view

In what seemed like an odd turn of events to me, we did not face that much of a threat before Northern Coalition’s tower was destroyed.  Some stealth bombers came our way, but that was it.  Of course, that was just the part of the battle I was in.  The count in local was up beyond 1,200 people and TiDi was heavy, so something was going on.

With the tower blown, we joined the real battle.  With one of the first targets being a carrier that was inside the tower shields.  That went before I could lock it up.  Then the combined force from Northern Coalition, Black Legion, Nulli Secunda, Ev0ke, Ewoks, and Intrepid Crossing, with a few Gypsy Band ships thrown in for fun, collided with the CFC fleets.

Drake fleet in the fight

This followed the pattern I have seen in such battles in the past.  Once one side starts chewing away at the other, the balance of things quickly gets out of hand.  Our own targets were battleships and logistics at first, then the opposing Drake fleet until the focus became keeping them from escaping.

One of their battleship fleets retired to another station they had in the system where they were safe within the POS shield.

Battleships in the POS Shield

There were a few other skirmishes after that.  Stealth bombers plied their trade, attacking us while we roamed around the fleet safely in the shields.  The password to get in was known by us and at one point we flew into the shields and attempted to bump some ships out to face the waiting guns of the lurking Alpha fleet.

Drake formation in the enemy POS bubble

While an Iteron V that was sitting on the edge of the shields did get bumped out at one point, the exercise was not very successful.  If a ship is under way it is difficult to bump it very far, and the enemy fleet set themselves up orbiting the tower once we started bumping which put an end to our ambitions.

The end results, like the odds, favored us.  We put nearly double the number of ships in the system in the end which lead to us dominating the kill board for the fight.  This of course brought up the usual arguments about how the CFC is bad at PvP and needs to bring favorable odds in order to win.  That still leaves the open question, “If we are bad, why would we do anything else?” along with “If you’re so good, why do you need such evenly matched odds to win?”

I ended up with 84 kills for the day, though 44 of them were POS modules.

Kill totals for the weekend

I am not sure how I ended up with 43 out of those 44 kills.  I only shot the tower.  But I guess you somehow get credit for the module that are destroyed or collected afterwards.

Both sides drifted off the field and we headed back to the staging system where I parked my Drake in anticipation of the ops that were set to go on Sunday.

The Sunday ops were early in the morning for me.  As much as I like fleet ops, I wasn’t going to get up before 5am in order to participate.  It seemed like I wasn’t needed in any case.  These ops were to defend and rep our own towers that had come out of reinforcement, as opposed to going after the towers of the opposition, so Northern Coalition and friends were less inclined to go head to head.  I got on coms near the end of the second of the mornings three ops and it sounded like it was more of a cat and mouse game with a lot of scanning and probing.

And by the time the third op went out, the opposition had had enough of that, so we flew around hindered only by TiDi and our own incompetence.  Our inability to follow orders when we aren’t actually shooting things is phenomenal.  At one point, on the way home our FC, Reagalan, said one destination system in voice coms, then quickly changed it to another destination, which he said a few times, which was linked in the fleet channel, and which was broadcast in the fleet window, and still a good 10-20% of our fleet wandered off in the wrong direction.

We were also very lucky.  While the Tengu fleet went out with 55 Scimitars to support it, we had just two.  That would be about 18 shy of sanity.  And then one of them dropped off, which left us with just a single logistics ship, the pilot of which seemed quite concerned.  It is the logistics ships that keep us from getting turned into so much wreckage most days of the week, so we were primed for disaster.  But nobody showed up to fight us, so we hung around until our towers were repaired… we even sent our sole scimitar off to help… what good was it going to do us… and then headed home.

Moon Harvesting Array

The war of the moons in Venal continued on last night while I was asleep.  We shall see if it continues on with as much vigor next weekend or if, like so many past wars, the stand up fights come early and after that it turns into another bug hunt.

Six Fleets in Venal April 14, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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As previously mentioned, after the war in Tenal came to a quick end, the focus of the CFC seemed set to turn on the truce breaking Northern Coalition and their tech moons in the Venal region.

This was confirmed last night (my time) at the State of the Goonion, where The Mittani outlined the plan for the CFC to go for a maximum effort this weekend in Venal to try to start and end this moon war in the north.

Alliances in the North

The call to arms seems to have worked.  I got on an hour late and found all the fleets not only out, but pretty much full.  I slept in a bit and now I have to wait for a reinforcement fleet.

But from the sound of things on fleet coms, where I spent a brief time this morning, things are going well for the CFC.  The Mittani linked to a screen shot of a fleet of 175 dreadnaughts destroying a tower.

Dreadnaughts Attack

It is a wide-screen picture, so you have to click on it to be able to see capital ships clearly.  You can also see the soon-to-be-destroyed moon harvesting array in the blast.

A moon harvesting array

So, it may be true that Vince Draken, leader of Northern Coalition, has decided not to contest the moons in Venal given the large forces that the CFC was able to muster.

Or they may be laying low.  Since the moons in Venal lay between the two parties, there is the potential for this to turn into a long guerrilla war with each side preying on the moons of the other.  And there is still another day to go in the offensive.  There is still plenty of time for things to get hot.

Also mentioned in the State of the Goonion was the fact that the CFC is not going to invade Cobalt Edge where Intrepid Crossing lives, though it was promised that if they became involved in the moon war in Venal that the CFC would come in and destroy their capital ship assembly arrays (CSAAs), thus setting back severely any of their capital ship production.

There was also mention of some sort of agreement with Ev0ke, whom the Goons have been fighting with since the dawn of time.  This involved them relinquishing some moons that they had previously taken.  I was actually on an op last night that was focused on taking back a moon in Pure Blind.

Ev0ke tower coming out of reinforce

That op naturally went unopposed.  It is looking like April is going to be a month of structure kills for me unless things heat up.  I spent a lot of the op taking pictures of the non-Drakes in Drake Fleet.  We had some interesting guests.

An Oracle at the tower shoot

The State of the Goonion then wrapped up with a discussion about the Jita event and Hulkageddon, then went to a question and answer session.

So here I am, waiting for a reinforcement fleet to be called for the Venal operations.  The lack of such a fleet seems to indicate that no large battles have taken place.

The Ongoing War in Regions Which Rhyme with “Penal” April 10, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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When you are building a throne out of the skulls of your enemies, you don’t stop when it is “pretty good.”

-Paraphrased from some forum posts somewhere

The conquest of Tenal by the CFC is complete.  Raiden is out and all systems in the region bar one belong to the RAZOR Alliance now.  And that one system, EOY-BG, is controlled by Goonswarm.

Over at EVE News 24, Riverini got back from vacation and finally posted the news that Tenal had changed hands.

Of course, the news of the fall of Tenal got the usual responses.  I was waiting for that post to hit just to read the comment thread.  Pro-Raiden comments tended to follow several of the responses I charted out last week, generally going with:

  • #2 – Complain About Battle Conditions – Damn Goon blobs
  • #3 – Reveal Your Foe as a Coward – Goons won’t fight unless the odds are good
  • #5 – Blame CCP – Fighting in 10% TiDi sucks
  • #9 – Claim the Battle Did Not Matter – Didn’t want that region anyway

Nothing unexpected there, just mildly amusing in a predictable sort of way.

Riverini also speculated as to where the barbarian hordes of the CFC might strike next.  The title of the EVE News 24 post specifically calls out the Tribute region as a possible CFC target.  This is where Northern Coalition (the alliance, not to be confused with The Northern Coalition, an old group of alliances in the north) lives, and they are a target because they threw in with Raiden during the FanFest drive on the CFC.  That certainly looks like a bad move, given how quickly Raiden gave up.  And now they are sitting there right on the southern flank of the CFC, probably feeling rather exposed, with Raiden behind them all the way I am sure.

CFC and Northern Coalition

But somebody sent Riverini some intel, an alleged CFC directive, that reveals a different plan for dealing with Northern Coalition.

Tenal down in a week. Now what?

Venal.

While we were at Fanfest, NCdot violated a six month+ treaty with us; they SBU’d BKG, dropped supercaps in Tenal, and promptly lost three Titans to us. We haven’t acted against NCdot despite them flinging our longstanding gentleman’s agreement in our faces, because our focus on Tenal required singlemindedness. Tenal is ours now – it is time for vengeance.

We will take NCdot’s Venal moons and distribute them among the coalition; there are 20+ on offer, a staggering amount of money (which is all the more reason why I’m surprised/amused that NCdot violated the agreement; we have only a handful of Venal techs, so they gained much more from the peace we did). While we do this, we remain in CS-. Once this act of retribution is completed, we will return to VFK and turn our focus towards Jita – no, we’re not invading Tribute.

CS-. One more week. 20+ tech moons. Let’s get paid.

Note for spergs: PL and GSF have had a completely successful agreement, and we will of course abide by it and not be hitting any PL moons in Venal, because you’d have to be retarded and/or NCdot to toss such a profitable arrangement out the window for nothing.

That certainly sounds like The Mittani.  So we’re not going to march into Tribute, but muck about in Venal.

Venal seems an odd region in terms of null sec, at least it did when I first noticed it was null sec.  It sits in the middle of several regions owned by warring alliances, yet appears unclaimed on the sovereignty maps.

Venal in the middle

It is actually owned, in terms of sovereignty, by the Guristas, and NPC organization.

NPC organizations owning chunks of null sec isn’t that unusual.  Bits of some other null sec regions, like Pure Blind, as well as other full regions, such as Curse and Stain, are controlled by NPCs.  But when you aren’t part of null sec, and only know what you see on things like the sovereignty maps, you might not get what is really going on.  I know I didn’t.  Now I do.  And so do you!

Anyway, this Gurista enclave in the midst of warring factions becomes something of a proxy battle ground.  It is the wild west in the midst of the wild west.  That little purple dot that represents my own little home in null sec is right near the border with Venal, and it is the place where enemy fleets often appear. (Though they seem to pass on by and head to VFK more often than not.)  So it is a place of conflict.

But it does have some valuable assets, such as moons to be mined for their valuable raw materials, including the ever popular technetium, the most valuable moon goo of all.

So it seems the fight will be on this week to take some of those moons away from Northern Coalition.