End of the Month Op Success in Low Sec September 29, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Akidagi, Alphastarpilot, Hikkoken, Low Sec, Null Sec, Pavanakka
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The back half of September has been somewhat quiet in space. At least for me. There is always something going on somewhere, but since the move back to Deklein and Freedom Squad hell camping Mordus Angels back into their station and taking all their towers earlier in the month, there has not been a regular set of foes in space.
I tend to leave Jabber up most evenings, and not a lot of op announcements have been showing up. And those that did pop often came at awkward times. I have to be at my computer and ready to go and have the free time available when things get rolling. A non-strategic fleet op tends to get moving somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes after it has been announced, and once an op is undocked and on its way somewhere, catching up can be a dubious proposition. Travel in EVE Online is not trivial. Catching up to a fleet op solo in anything other than an interceptor can be a dubious proposition. Gate camps that will hide from the main body of the fleet tend to close in to try and grab stragglers and you have to cover every inch of space that the fleet has covered. Nobody can summon you to the raid, you have to fly there on your own.
Still, sometimes it works. I did managed to get into a fleet already 30 minutes live, fly out, and get on a kill mail before getting blown up myself. I managed to warp into spot that made me the closest target and that was that.
Saturday night I gave it another shot. There was a call for a Harpy fleet already 15 minutes old when I sat down at my desk. As my wife was going to be away for a couple of hours, I figured I had time enough to give it a shot. I logged in and got in my Harpy and then couldn’t get in the fleet. I commented on the CFC general channel that the fleet was full and the FC, Alphastarpilot, got back to me in less than a minute with a “try now.” And, hey presto, I was in.
And I was behind.
They were already 8 jumps down the pipe towards their destination and the FC was calling for people to catch up. I undocked and immediately started down the route posted in the MOTD in fleet chat. Three jumps in and then the FC began calling for people to reship to Bursts, as we were short on logistics. I had to stop and ask myself if, already running behind, I should further compound that by turning around and reshipping or if I should just press on to catch up. I decided to press on rather than miss out. And it started to sound like the J4LP guys coming from another direction might have us covered on the logistics front.
I got to within a couple of jumps of the fleet before it started moving again, so it was just warp and jump and warp again trying to catch up. Eventually the fleet stopped. Part of the plan was to pass through a wormhole that the Circle of Two team had found that would get us a big leap towards our destination. But he wanted everybody to go through together so nobody ended up lost in W-space where you actually have to know how scan and such to get out. I managed to join the fleet on the wormhole.
Once we were assembled, we passed into W-space, flew to the exit wormhole, and ended up in Black Rise, Caldari low sec space. From there Alphastarpilot had a plan.
Based on intel he had, we were going to drop on a group attacking a POCO in Pavanakka. Our Harpy fleet, with about 70 people present, would land on them and attack in hopes that the would call in reinforcements in the form of a carrier. So the FC got us into position and we landed on them and starting shooting up their logistics support. Some of them were spooked, but the rest held on, a cyno was lit (which we were told not to shoot) and an Archon landed in our midst.
At this point Alphastarpilot calls in a Razor fleet that has been hanging around the area and we all drop on the Archon for the big kill. Op success.
At that point the whole thing was probably the best fleet op I had been in all month. A capital ship kill is always worth the effort, and another 16 kill mails was nice. We could have gone home happy at that point.
But, according to intel, the people we dropped on were pissed and looking for a rematch. Razor went on their merry way, happy to have helped, but we were still hanging around many jumps from home with nothing else to do, so we decided to stick around.
The one thing we had lost was logistics, so while our foes got themselves sorted out, we docked up in a station and started scrounging for replacements for our lost Bursts. The J4LP guys managed to come up with a couple of Bursts and a few logistic fit Bantams for us, which gave us just enough coverage to go back for a second run.
Again, intel managed to put us in the right place at the right time and alerted us to the fact that our foes had phoned in for some help in the form of some ECM Blackbird support, no doubt in hopes of locking us down to be easy meat.
However, that did not end up working out for them. When we clashed again, this time in Akidagi, Alphastarpilot called the targets, we shot them with a minimal amount of target splitting (when you get a secondary in the midst of a reload cycle, it is easy to think you should just move on to the secondary target if the primary looks like it is going down), and managed to get on top of things, again taking few losses and tearing a strip off of our foes. I was on kill mails for 9 of the Blackbirds that came out in support.
From there we headed to the station when they seemed to be hold up and hung around the undock in hopes that they might come out for another round, but it did not look promising. After a while playing undock games, Alphastarpilot pointed us back towards our wormhole and brought us home.
All in all, it was the best op of the month for me and ended a slow September on a high point. I tried to assemble a battle summary to sum up who was there. Alphastarpilot and his team did a great job. I also have to commend Alphastarpilot for just being a great FC, calling all the right targets, and being able to pronounce, seemingly off the cuff, every low sec system we passed through. I know a couple of time I thought to myself, “Ah, so that is how you say that name.”
And I also had a new ship spotting. I saw my first Mordu’s Legion ship, as we had an Orthrus cruiser along for the ride. It takes a while for new ships to filter into fleets.
As is the norm, I have some screen shots from the op, including a couple of the Orthrus, after the cut.
Null Sec Lords Come Together for “The Null Deal” September 28, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Imperial Null Sec, Null Sec
Fixing null sec has been a discussi0n point for a few months now. All sorts of pet philosophies have been floated about power projection, apex forces, travel, fleet sizes, the effectiveness of logistics, how easy or difficult it ought to be to take a system away from another null sec entity, what actions/efforts should be required to even hold sovereignty, to going back to the pre-Dominion system of sovereignty.
Which ever theory is your favorite, the consensus seems to be that null sec needs to be changed. Big battles in null sec garner the most attention for the game, but right not the effort it takes to actually run a war is beyond what anybody really wants to commit to. The giant brawls are the shiny jewels in the crown of null sec, but having been through a few sovereignty wars now, I can say that actual victory goes to side that can maintain a hellish operational tempo the longest. Winning is wearing out your enemy, and the inevitable “fail cascade” in a war generally amounts to one side declining to show up for a seemingly endless string of timers and structure shoots.
So everybody involved seems to want to fix null sec, CCP included. We’ve admitted we have a problem. Now how do we fix it?
Towards that end, members of the major sovereignty holding null sec entities, including N3, Pandemic Legion, and the CFC, have come together to draft a list of things that they feel are important to a successful update of null sec. The list is short, with just three items, that I would summarize as:
- Occupancy Based Sovereignty – You should only be able to hold the systems your alliance lives in and uses.
- NPC areas in all null sec regions – NPC null is the spring board for smaller groups to inject themselves into null sec, however much of sovereign null sec is out of reasonable range from NPC null stations.
- Increased Player Density – A backwards way of saying that null sec systems should be able to support more player activity. Right now based on various factors, systems can only support so many players ratting or mining or running anomalies, and there are many systems that support so little of each that they are essentially useless and are held only because the alliance in question holds the systems around it.
You can read more detail here on what is meant by each of these propositions, and who has signed on the bottom line in support, but they strike me as a reasonable and positive set of goals for a new null sec system, as opposed to a lot of the talk that has gone on over the summer, which focuses a lot on just altering one mechanism or another from the current system.
Of course, any change is a long way off. CCP has to lay a lot of groundwork in their code just to be able to change things from what I have heard. We may have to get things in bits and pieces over time.
There is, of course, a forum threadnaught associated with this as well.
And Sometimes We are the Ones Outnumbered… September 17, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: B-DBYQ, Blawrf McTaggart, Null Sec, Reagalan
GUARENTEED FIGHT IN FOUNTAIN TONIGHT
-Blawrf McTaggart, the broadcast some claim jinxed the whole thing
Black Legion still has a tower set up in Fountain. We had put it into reinforce and the timer was set to come up last night. We were going to go and try to finish it off.
Reagalan put up a broadcast about fifteen minutes in advance of the form up time for the fleet, but otherwise it wasn’t really on the calendar or anything, so when Blawrf finally sounded the horn there were already about 40 of us in the YA0-XJ station and in the fleet. The follow up got another 50 or so people, putting us at 93 total.
Not bad for a week night without much in the way of advance warning. Enough to cause trouble most days of the week.
The fleet composition had yet to be announced. Reagalan wanted to take a Hawk fleet out, an experimental doctrine, but was overruled. Neither were we destined to run out to Fountain in Tengus, which was probably a good thing as my Tengu is still down in F2OY-X. The call from command said we were to go out as a Baltec fleet because this was serious business, a strat op, and not just some roam.
So we got out our Baltec ships. I got into my Apocalypse, which had made it back from Delve, and joined everybody out at the staging POS so we could begin the part of every fleet op where we discover we do not have enough boosters or logistics. I am still ages away from being able to fly a boosting ship and I wanted to get on a kill mail, it has been a slow month so far, so I was reluctant to give that up for logistics.
As it was, we had to escort somebody a couple of jumps to pick up a boosting ship in order to cover him from a hostile gang roaming the area. We managed to land on them at one point and I was able to lock up and get on a kill mail, helping blot out a tackled interceptor. I even got top damage.
My need for a kill mail satisfied, I volunteered to swap out for an Oneiros logistics ship.
Some other people swapped for logi and we ended up with a fleet composition worth taking out at last. Then it was a quick warp to a titan to bridge us a little ways along before we picked up the well worn trail to Fountain. The route was posted in fleet for us to free burn to B-DBYQ, the gateway system to Fountain from the north, where we spent so much time last year. I barely needed to look at the route, as I can fly it by rote at this point.
We burned out way, spreading out along the route, light ships landing at the destination as the battleships slowly followed a few systems back. Reagalan was trying to get the battleship pilots to hurry up by having them cycle their MWD modules before starting the process to warp to the next point in space. This is supposed to speed up the transition to warp by bringing the ship up to the 75% of top speed threshold needed to engage. Wags on coms were pointing out that this was shaving off about a second from the align and warp time, but that the extra second was pretty much being eaten up by the actually having to cycle the MWD.
As we arrived in B-DBYQ over time, Reagalan had us hole up at the POS where the jump bridge was located. The battleships finally caught up and joined us within the protective shield.
There we sat for a bit, the force now consolidated again, when Reagalan, without preamble, warped us to the local customs office. This was unusual as part of the doctrine is to keep everybody aligned so that we will all warp and land together. As we were all spread out in the POS and facing this way or that, this lead to a long, ragged fleet warp. I happened to be facing almost exactly 180 degrees from the destination, which meant I was one of the last to warp off, but which also meant I got a pretty good view of the new warp termination effect as the rest of the fleet landed in front of me. A pity it is so faint and transitory that it is tough to capture effectively in a screen shot. It looks very nice when you see it happen, but a single frame can’t seem to capture its essence.
Reagalan then had us align back in the direction from which we had just warped. A we landed back at the jump bridge he told us to take it, which got a collective moan out of the fleet on coms. Taking the jump bridge would send us in the wrong direction. That was the way home. That meant no fight for us.
Reagalan confirmed this. While we managed to get a fleet of nearly one hundred together, Black Legion had a Tengu fleet up with a reported 150 members in fleet, roughly one third of them logistics. That last bit is a key factor.
Logistics for sub caps is the new trend (well, new-ish at this point) in why null sec is broken. Back in the old days, long before my time in null, apparently fights were often blood baths where winner and loser could wander off almost equally mauled. Everybody got kill mails though, so even the losers in a fight where they were burned down to the last ship would feel that at least they had inflicted some losses on their foes. They had some tangible effect and the fight was not in vain. Some of the bad guys… and your foes are always bad guys… had to walk home too.
Now, however, if two fleets of roughly equal size square off, if one has better logistics support not only is it likely to win the engagement, it is likely to do so with minimal losses. So, in the absence of other ways to win a fight, piling on logistics support has become a thing. We no longer fly strat ops with just a couple logi ships. Instead the FC has to chide people into support ships under the threat of standing down if we do not get sufficient numbers in the space priest column. The same go for boosting ships, though calls for nerfing boosters has been going on for a while now, at least for off-grid boosting.
Anyway, so you can add “nerf logistics” to the “fixing null” sec bingo card along with “nerf jump bridges,” “nerf jump drives,” “nerf supers,” and “fix sovereignty.” (“Grr Goons” is the center spot and everybody gets that as a freebie.)
The upshot of this was that we faced a formidable foe by the reports that were shared with us. Spies on both sides mean that we all generally know what we are facing for this sort of timer fight unless somebody is very, very clever. The Tengu fleet alone seemed very likely to chew us up unless handled badly. Add in the fact that Black Legion’s allies had assembled an additional fleet of 100+ ships for the fight, and the decision was made not to give the enemy an easy victory by fighting them with the odds in their favor. We headed back to the staging station in YA0-XJ to stand down.
We got our participation link for showing up. While Dabigredboat took a bomber fleet down to harass the hostiles at about the same time we headed out, I am sure Black Legion saved their tower. I am also equally sure that we will soon be headed down to reinforce it yet again, so there will be more timers and more possible fights.
Addendum: And there was a fight there again already. Oops, sorry about that LAWN.
Addendum2: Or maybe that wasn’t the same tower. Still, bloodbath in Fountain.
Cleaning Up the Neighborhood Back in Deklein September 9, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Mordus Angels, Null Sec, Pure Blind
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The return to Deklein seems to have been accomplished for most people over the weekend. Somewhere I missed the broadcast about there being a channel set up for people looking to get ships brought north via excess hangar space in carriers. By last night the channel was deserted, leading me to the conclusion that most people were done with their move.
I got on last night and clone jumped back up to Deklein to examine my own carrier, and Archon that has sat docked up for nearly two years since I bought it and made the one jump from where I purchased it to the system I generally think of as home in null sec.
As it turns out, I hadn’t even finished fitting it. Of course, I managed to slap on the rigs, so I can’t just repackage it and bring it back to the store with a gift receipt… or just sell the hull on the market. So the choices are to finish fitting it and sell it, finish fitting it and actually put some effort into using it, or let things roll as they are. I don’t actually need the ISK invested in the hull for now, so there is no sense of urgency. It is just something else gathering dust in a hangar, like those Drakes I have, waiting for a trigger event to get them into action.
Get thee behind me, Satan!
Anyway, the “let it roll” option was chosen because as I was staring at the half fit Archon, a fleet op came up over Jabber. I was already online, I had the time, and I was avoiding making a decision, so it seemed like the optimum time to roll out.
The call was for a Baltec Fleet, with Lyris Nairn in the FC position. The good news was that I had already gotten my Apocalypse up north over the weekend in the one convoy I managed to find. The bad news was that I was in the wrong clone and I had just clone jumped.
First world space problems.
Jump clones are nifty and let you pre-position yourself around space so you can appear in a specific region without all that mucking about in space. You have to have a ship waiting for you at the far end of your jump, otherwise it is just you and your pod, and there is a 24 hour cool down on jumps, which can be reduced to 19 hours by training one of those new skills… Xenomorph Info Compulsive Behavior of some such… up to level 5. I went for level 4, which gives me a 20 hour cool down.
The thing is, ships are not the only thing that are independent of your clone jump. Implants are also independent of your clone. Implants are the skill and attribute enhancements that you can plug into your brain. They stick with the clone you plugged them into, which up until now, hasn’t been an issue. I have a clone in high sec with +5 attribute implants, so when I am going to be offline for a few days, I jump back there to speed up any training in progress. Otherwise I have just been a line member sub cap pilot with no need for implants. I have a set of cheap +3 implants in a clone I sometimes use when I am ratting, just to keep skills sped up a bit, but most of my clones are implant free.
Or they were.
When they introduced the Apocalypse to Baltec fleet, I was keen to fly it because… well… I wanted to play with pretty lasers. I am always the guy at structure shoots now with multiple colors shooting forth. I am easily amused.
However the fit for the Baltec Apoc was very tight, such that you need the EG-603 implant, which boosts your power grid 3%, in order to fly it and shoot all eight lasers. And the implant itself runs 20 million ISK. While I’m not poor, I intend to stay that way in part by not buying things I don’t need. So I have an Apoc clone parked at our new staging system in Deklein. I was not in that clone and I had a good 19 hours left until I could jump to it.
Instead I was sitting in my ratting clone.
Well, not a huge hairy deal. I could fly logistics. As it happened I even had an Oneiros sitting in the station with me ready to go. But it did make me thing about this whole fleet booster training plan I have been working on. That too depends on implants and having the right set for the right booster role for the right fleet. I suspect that unless I go “all boosting all the time” I am going to end up in the wrong clone often enough to be annoying.
Problems for another day.
So I strapped on the Oneiros and flew on out to the staging station while listening to voice coms. Somebody there was asking about convoys and getting their ships back up from Delve, which is where I first heard about the channel dedicated to finding space on carriers moving north. At least I wasn’t alone in that. I don’t mind being lost, unless I am the only one who is lost. Misery loves company or some such.
Our mission for the night was to go reinforce a couple of towers in 5ZXX-K in Pure Blind, which is literally one titan bridge away from the staging system. 5ZXX-K is an NPC null sec system held by Mordu’s Legion (which has a nifty looking station) which is also home to the role-playing Mordus Angels. They are also bitter foes of the CFC, having been a part of the coalition and then purged at some point before my time. They are also pretty much in the middle of the southern flank of CFC space in the north.
While we were down in Delve they had something of a breather to put up towers and otherwise run around and make trouble. They are the current favorites of Gevlon, who is soliciting donations to support their war against the CFC. So our content for the night was sponsored by Gevlon.
We were headed down to 5ZXX-K in order to put a couple of towers into reinforce. Since this would likely be a no kill mail tower shoot, logistics would be an easy enough role for the evening. I would just have to orbit the logistics anchor, put reps on anybody who happened to get targeted by the POS guns, and take screen shots. It seemed unlikely that Mordus Angels would come out to play. We had over a hundred ships in Baltec fleet to cover the dreadnoughts jumping in to do the heavy lifting. So we scooted around as the dreads showed up and quickly reinforced the tower.
Now we get into tower timers. The actual tower kill comes when the timer runs down. But being 1 day and 17 hours in the future, it will likely happen while I am still at the office, so it will fall to our Euro time zone brethren to blow it up and get the kill mail.
After that the dreads headed home while we sat covering them. Then we were off to our next task, which was another tower in the same system. However, it was a small tower and was thus deemed not worth dragging dreads out to put it in reinforce, so that was left to us.
The guns at the small tower were a bit more active. For some reason they all decided to concentrate on a single Celestis cruiser in our fleet. It flew too close to the shields or some such, but it was the most active moment of the evening as we actually had to be on the ball with reps to keep that poor ship alive.
The guns later switched to focus on various ships, so we kept moving our reps around to keep everybody safe. I don’t know why the guns were more effective here. A pilot with the right skills (I have them trained, but have never used them) can take over the POS guns and target them, which makes them much more effective, but there did not seem to be anybody in the POS doing so. The AI was just having a good night. So we had to keep the reps going.
We put the tower into reinforce… another one for the Euro TZ… as well as the warp disruption batteries to keep anybody scouting out the status safe. Then it was time to go. Lyris had even arranged a ride home for us just a couple systems over, so there was no need to take gates back to the jump bridge network. We met up with our titan and got everybody collected as this was going to be one of those “make the first bridge or walk” events. We had one straggler, a lone Apoc that somehow got hung up on something back in 5ZXX-K. We waited for him then bridged home. Mission accomplished.
We never did run into Mordus Angels, or their partners in the war on Goons, Triumvirate. The report was that they couldn’t muster enough to take us on, so they went out to hunt ratters and ended up getting suckers by a bait carrier laid out for them. Back in April, when Black Legion was working with them, we would get a fight now and again. But with tower bashing fleets roaming the region and the US TZ based Freedom Squad group from the CFC camping them in their station to keep them from being able to go after ratters at will, it is looking like quiet structure shoots might be on the agenda for a while.
And since I had lots of free time spinning around the anchor, I have the usual allotment of screen shots after the cut.
Leaving a Pile of Stuff Behind in Delve… September 8, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Delve, Null Sec
Another Summer in Delves comes to an end. The word came down on Friday that our deployment to Delve would be closing down and that there would be many… that was the term used… convoys heading back to Deklein so we could get various ships safely home to our new staging system.
Having piled up a number of ships, as I tend to on these deployments, I was looking to get a few of the more expensive ones home. So I was keen to into one of these “many” convoys. I made sure I had installed a jump clone down in F2OY-X so I could hop back and be ready to bring up the next ship after the first convoy. I had a couple ships picked out to drive back up to Deklein. All I needed was convoys to commence.
The first one came up Friday evening. It was specifically called to get Tengu fleet ships back up north due to an op set to roll about an hour later. However, we could only get about 20 ships in the fleet. That turned out to be insufficient mass to gets us cleared to move out, so we stood down. Due to other operations going on, no further convoys were called that night.
Saturday morning I managed to catch another call for a convoy op headed north. I jumped into my Apocalypse this time, it being the most annoying of my vessels to get back to Deklein, shoveled any excess items from my hanger into the cargo hold, and joined the fleet. This was about at the time when TNT was losing its match in the Alliance Tournament. We managed to get about 35 people in the fleet, which was just enough to be cleared to head out. And so a pack of battleships set off.
This ran like most convoys… actually, with so few people, it ran better than most… and we slowly moved from jump bridge to jump bridge through null sec, from about 7 to approximately 1 o’clock on the dial. There was a point in Fountain where our scout spotted a 40+ fleet from the Battlement Coalition in our path. That was enough to be a concern, as a convoy fleet is generally not fit to fight on equal terms, being a pretty random selection of ships, and depends on numbers to keep hostiles away. An outnumbered convoy needs to be wary.
The hostiles were in a system where one of our jump bridges is anchored, so going around meant a long diversion off of our way. But as we waited to see what they were up to, they left, missing out on a juicy target and never to be heard from again during the op. We moved onward through Fountain, Cloud Ring, Pure Blind, and into Deklein.
A couple of jumps from our destination we were cleared to free burn to the staging systems. A participation link was provided and the op was over. I docked up, left my ship, a clone jumped right back down to F2OY-X in hopes of catching another convoy north.
However, no further convoys were announced while I was online on Saturday… or on Sunday. And since I was logged into Jabber for most waking hours over the weekend, I am going to guess that it wasn’t just bad timing on my part.
The FC on the first convoy op, which stood down, speculated that with the push to get people into capital ships in the CFC, carriers were becoming pretty common. And if you have a carrier deployed… and we had quite a pile… it is pretty easy just to shove a few sub caps into the hanger bay… yours or your friends… and hop home with the rest of the capital fleet.
Not being part of the capital fleet, and with most of the people I consider close enough friends that I would start asking for favors not playing EVE Online right now, I am somewhat dependent on the whole convoy thing to get bigger ships home safely.
I do own a carrier. I bought it nearly two years back and then never really used it. I am stuck in a chicken and egg thing on that front. I am not confident enough in my ability to use it to sign up for capital fleets. I literally have no clue as what to do, and while everybody is happy enough to answer questions in a frigate fleet, the more expensive the ships get the less tolerant of questions people get, or such is my observation. And while I don’t mind being the idiot in fleet once in a while, when it starts putting people’s expensive toys at risk, I get really nervous. But I cannot get any experience without joining up.
So, while theoretically I could fly my carrier down to Delve, pick up some ships and fly in back, the reality is that I lack the confidence to put my Archon at risk for a set of ships that cost significantly less than the carrier itself. Meanwhile, over at DOTLAN, the route down and back they suggest is five jumps either way.
That means getting somebody in each of those systems with a cyno as a jump target for the Archon and being at risk for at least four of the five jumps. Add in the fact that our alliance leader hates when people lose carriers in anything but strat ops, so a round of public humiliation and a quarter billion ISK fine are part of the bargain if I screw up, and I am seriously considering just selling the Archon. I am just not invested enough in the game right now to want the complications it brings.
Meanwhile, I’ll just leave a jump clone and a collection of ships down in Delve. It’s not like we won’t be back.
Tower Watch in Fountain and Delve August 18, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Battlement Coalition, Delve, Fountain, Null Sec
It looked like it might be a good week for fights. The word came down that the rest of the N3 coalition was going to deploy to Delve to join Northern Coalition and help boost their numbers. NC and Black Legion had also gone out of their way to reinforce a number of CFC towers in both Delve and Fountain, which I took to be a good indicator. As much as null sec veterans loathe the sovereignty mechanics, timers mean fights. Both sides have a vested interest in showing up and being on grid when the tower comes out of reinforce.
However, it was not to be. At least not for the times I was online.
During the week we rolled out to cover some tower swaps in Delve. I was in Baltec fleet for that run. We headed out to 1-SMEB to stand by as a small tower of ours was blown up so it could be replaced with a larger one. Hostiles were reported forming up, but could not get the numbers to come fight us, so the only kill mail for Baltec fleet was our own tower.
On the way back from that we stopped at the BL staging system and hung out around the undock in hopes that somebody would come out. CFC Sky marshal Blawrf McTaggart even flew around the station in a pod daring the enemy to emerge and pop him.
But they didn’t have the numbers to come out. Meanwhile, people started locking Blawrf up just for fun. He was getting reps from several of the logis in the fleet. Then Jay Amazingness put a target painter on him which lead one of the Fatal Ascension dudes to open fire… because FA. So essentially we ended up popping him for BL.
It is all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.
After that it was back to base.
Saturday looked to be a prime day for a fight. There were several towers in reinforce up in Fountain and Blawrf had been pinging us well in advance to get people out for the timer.
I was on early for the first call, as were a load of people. We had well over 100 people in the Tengu fleet before the announcement that the fleet was up went out. There was also a Baltec fleet and a Celestis fleet up as well along with the carriers that would be needed to rep the towers after they came out of reinforce. Of course, we were gummed up for a while trying to get boosters for the fleet. You need one for each wing and one for the fleet itself, each of which has to fly a very expensive ship and, in the case of the wing boosters, hang around in a safe spot during the battle giving boosts while hoping not to be scanned down. I am still a long way from my training plan for that fleet role. Maybe next war.
But eventually we got the support ships we needed and we off to Fountain. We bridged through various systems and got to the first tower and hung out. Intel came down saying that the hostiles could only get about 100 people into fleets because they were all watching the Alliance Tournament.
(Editorial: The Alliance Tournament is never going to be a popular esport because an outsider can’t tell what is going on by looking at the stream. You either see a single ship, which doesn’t give context, or you see the grid with some icons on it which is dull. And even the announcers can’t keep up with what is going on with all the ships.)
So with 600 of us stomping about Fountain, there didn’t seem much point for them to come out to play. But we still had to stick around and cover the capital fleet and their tower operations just in case. That meant staying system, but we didn’t have to sit on the tower itself, so the FC took us through some anomalies just to shoot stuff.
That got us some ISK for bounties as we melted anything that showed up. A lot of us were shooting, so those bounties at least exceeded the cost of the faction ammo we were shooting for most of us.
We also got to admire baltec1 and his amazing fast Megathron. People were moaning about a battleship being in a Tengu fleet, assuming it would slow us down in fleet warps… which adjust to move at the speed of the slowest ship… not knowing how it was fit. I had seen it previously flying with a Harpy fleet where, jumping alone in a race against the fleet, it landed ahead of the Harpies every time.
We stayed at that until the caps were done and then headed home. We did get two participation links out of the deal. Participation links, or PAP links, are the metric by which corps and alliances in the CFC see who is pulling their weight, to the point that we have all become a bit obsessive about getting our PAP links for each fleet. Some alliances pay members for each PAP link. In our alliance we just get yelled at for not clicking enough of them. (I was the #3 clicker of PAP links for our corp last month, behind our CEO and a corp member who is also an alliance FC. Not bad for a lazy, on-call pilot.)
Sunday morning saw a call up for a Harpy fleet to go shoot hostile capital ships. That is the sort of fleet everybody loves, especially when the caps were reported to be just a few jumps from home. The fleet was already under way when I got in, but they were running via gates so I was able to catch up by taking jump bridges to PR-8CA where the hostiles were reported to be. It turned out to be a safe route as a CFC Tengu fleet was headed out that way, so I had plenty of cover and arrived in the target system at about the same time as the rest of the fleet, albeit through a different gate.
By the time we arrived any capital ships had vanished.
We did, however, run across an NC/BL Ishtar fleet and were able to bubble them up and pick off some of their logistics in hopes of setting up a dunk. They slipped away a couple of times and eventually headed to a POS where a titan was waiting to bridge them out. We had to sit and watch them jump away, though we did knock off about a dozen of them during the chase, including Futurama reference of the day, 25star-General Zapp Brannigan.
So that was my weekend in space. A lot of running about and hanging around with a few moments of combat.
On the hopeful side for the future, there is a report up that a group of 14 alliances has formed a new coalition. Called “Battlement Coalition” they are declaring that they are coming after the CFC to reclaim content.
I am a little confused by a quote attributed to leader, PantsuFan:
CFC has taken a lot of content away from the pilots in EVE and we are here to rectify that. CFC controls nearly one half of the game content in eve now.
As far as I can tell, we haven’t take any content, we ARE the content, at least in null sec. And even then, our wars hardly matter to most EVE players, except that they sometimes drive up market prices and occasionally cause TiDi in the odd low or high sec system.
The new coalition includes a number of alliances we were shooting at anyway, such as Triumvirate and Mordu’s Angels. How this will play out has yet to be seen, but I can only imaging that more fights will work for us, given how many pilots we had piling into the game for the timers this past weekend. This might actually be a boon for the CFC, since I think the most likely reason it might crumble is lack of fights. (The Mittani responds to this development, complete with competing PowerPoint presentation.)
And that is about all the news I have from space for the past week. Some fleets, a few kills, the promise of a new foe, and screen shots… always screen shots after the cut.
Weekend Fleet Ops in Delve August 11, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: 1-SMEB, Delve, NOL-M9, Null Sec, Rilera
The “Good Fites” war in Delve continues on, giving us something to do during our summer vacations, such that they are. As usual, I tend to just sit and do other things until Jabber pops up and tells me it is time for a space fight.
Saturday morning seemed to be a rich time for ops. I missed an earlier tower defense, but happened to just sit down at my computer when a call went out for Harpy fleet. They had suffered some losses during a fight and were re-shipping in F2OY-X, so there was an opportunity to jump in. I quickly got online and on coms and was off with the fleet to NOL-M9 where a Northern Coalition Tengu fleet was in the process of being pinned down. NOL is about at the edge of what is the current radius of action around the NPC null sec stations in Delve.
We arrived just in time to find the NC Tengu fleet bubbled up and heavily committed. We were able to warp to the fight and join in at extreme range for Harpies, using Spike ammo and range scripts.
Time dilation was running close to 10% at times with a lot of ships on grid, but we were able to close and get in on our share of kills before the remaining hostiles slipped the trap. We then bounced around quite a bit trying to catch them on their way home, but there was no further action for the Harpies and we eventually headed home ourselves.
That fleet slaked my need for a fight, but when a call came up two hours later for a Baltec fleet to go and kill some super capitals, I was in as quick as I could be.
On coms the word was that there were supers tackled and so it was time to go go go! Reagalan was FC and, as proof that we were in a hurry, he had us warp to zero when traveling to the titan waiting to bridge us, causing it to get a severe bumping. (Don’t bump the titan is the mantra of almost every bridging operation.) We bridged immediately to another POS where another titan was waiting to bridge us soonest out to Rilera, where the supers were said to be waiting.
However, once we got there, the supers had slipped away. We were left with a Black Legion carrier on the field though, which we proceeded to blow up as quickly as we could, and then we cleared out all the drones that the supers left behind. Super pilots leave so much litter behind I swear I saw a crying space Indian… or native American… or whatever.
We then managed to corner a Black Legion Ishtar fleet and took a bite out of them before they got away. There were a lot of people hanging around the system for a while, and then people faded and Reagalan had to figure out what to do with us. We were in a low sec system, which was fine, but to get back to Querious and F2OY-X, we needed to travel through high sec. Rilera is a pocket of low sec surrounded by high.
For me this was no big deal. My security status is 4.98. But there were a lot of people in fleet with negative security status, all the way down to -10 if coms are to be believed. And I have yet to be in a CFC fleet that has to pass through high sec where anybody seemed to know definitively what will happen if low security status pilots go into high sec. Will CONCORD shoot them, will faction police shoot them, will they get pointed or just webbed before being blown up, will they be able to get through in a battleship… always questions with half a dozen conflicting answers on coms.
Reagalan eventually just got us lined up on the jump gate to Col, gave everybody the destination, and told us to just fly as fast as possible through high sec. There was nothing else for it, nobody was going to risk jumping a titan out to low sec just to rescue a few relatively cheap battleships. So we went.
And, as far as I could tell, nobody got blown up.
From there it was just a matter of getting to null and the jump bridge network for The Initiative, which we can use, and hey presto we were home. A lot of anxiety for naught.
That was it for me on Saturday, but Sunday held the promise of more fights. One of our towers was reinforced in 1-SMEB and the timer was set to come out at around 19:00 EVE time. Skymarshal Blawrf McTaggart was putting up pings on Jabber about this operation, counting down to the undock time and practically promising a fight.
STRATOP FORMING IN 30 MINS. We’ll be forming large – tengufleet as first fleet, baltec as second, fyf & harpies as third. BE IN F2O FOR A SUNDAY BRAWL
Since 1-SMEB is in the Delve hot pocket, I figured this would be a short commute for a fight, so got into the Tengu fleet. I am starting to acquire a ship for every occasion in F2OY-X.
We formed up, caused a lot of TiDi undocking, bridged to 1-SMEB, got to the POS and watched the tower count down the minutes.
And nobody showed up. Well, we showed up, but the other side did not. We ran off to a blocking position in another system, lest this be some trickery of some sort. But the hostiles were not going to fight us. Eventually Blawrf was back on Jabber telling us the fight wasn’t going to happen.
After broadcasting for guarenteed fight all day, the lowsec pirates sit on a titan and ref a moon before docking again. Sorry that we didn’t get a fight.
We wandered back home and stood down. Unfortunately, that was about all I had time for on Sunday. I left Jabber up and it looked like there were fleets of opportunity throughout the day, but I was done. Still, two fights out of three tries isn’t a bad record for null sec.
Some screen shots of the various ops after the cut.
Blow Up at F2OY-X August 4, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Baltec Fleet, Black Legion, F2OY-X, Northern Coalition, Null Sec, Reagalan
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I was a bit disappointed on Saturday. There were a couple of strat ops planned, but they were both during time frames where I was not going to be able to come along. I like strat ops because they tend to be based on timers or some other event that forces both sides to show up. And they tend to be focused on a specific mission beyond shooting whoever we can find.
But as I was poking around early Saturday afternoon, an op came up in Jabber asking people to get in fleet fast for action in F2OY-X.
That sounded like my kind of deal. A fight in our staging system meant no travel. Of course, it was likely to be a chimera, the possibility of a fight that would never materialize. But I was sitting around and I wasn’t going to be around for the later strat op, so I jump into the game. I would get a participation link for showing up at least.
But on getting into the game, a fight looked more than likely. There were over a thousand people in the system, TiDi was already starting to hit hard, and even as I got into Reagalan’s Baltec fleet he was telling us to undock and align. It was time to go, so I got my Apocalypse pointed in the right direction and went.
There were warp disruption bubbles of one flavor or another all over space within sight of the station. We actually had to warp to a mid point to get around some to drop in on the fight. Along the way, we passed within sight, if not range, of a TEST pilot who wanted us to be sure of who to shoot.
We slowly made our way to the engagement, tidi dipping to 10% already and, on arriving, started shooting the targets called. Initially we did not have much success. A later count showed that the hostiles brought a lot of logistics with their Tengu fleet, so were catching sufficient reps when targeted to shrug off our fire. Remote reps have come up as part of the larger “fix null sec” thread of posts that has been banging about the EVE Online world. You only get kills if you can out-damage the remote repair abilities of your foes. So the game becomes “bring more dudes” while your FC yells at you to get into a logistics ship. More reps means life, so nerfing reps is now being discussed.
Logistics become a lynchpin in engagements. You keep your logistics alive, which tend to be easier to kill than your ships of the line, by having your logistics anchor keep as far off on the other side of the fight from your foes as possible. Out of range means being safe.
Fortunately for us, the reach of Baltec fleet is pretty far. An Apoc with range scipts and the right crystals can reach out and hit things as far as 150km off if you have the right skills trained. Not that we needed that. Their logistics seemed to be close to hand, within the range of our short-to-medium range ammo. So Reagalan had us swap to targeting their logistics. That worked and we started getting kills, breaking Scimitar tanks one by one.
That was an investment into the future of the fight. However, killing logistics now leaves all the hostile firepower still on hand to shoot at you. We had enough logistics for the fleet, so long as you paid attention and clicked the “need armor” button as the hostiles were just starting to target you. That is indicated by the yellow boxes around ships in your overview. I was not paying close enough attention and only hit the button when I noticed those yellow boxes starting to turn red, which means that you are now being shot at.
Soon I was floating around in a pod. But first I got to see my ship explode in slow motion. The tidi was bad enough… it had clearly pushed beyond the level that was showing as the backend systems struggled to keep up with things running at one tenth speed… that my ship was gone as far as my controls were concerned a good 30 seconds before it actually exploded on screen.
Then I was sort of stuck. There were layers and layers of warp disruption bubbles to fly through so I would be clear to warp back to the station and re-ship. I took that time to go through the contracts, pick out, and purchase a new Apocalypse. Reagalan was cajoling us to return in Celestises in order to sensor damp the hostiles, as not being able to target and shoot things apparently induces rage in our foes, but those had all been bought out. So it was back to a big ship.
Pods move slowly, put-putting along at 187 meters a second, made all the more slow by tidi inflicting is penalty. Eventually though I wandered out into open space and was able to warp back to the station. Docking and reshipping went very quickly given the TiDi situation, and I even remembered to check the fitting to make sure the guns were online before I undocked. They were not. Ships on contract sometimes get fit by an alt that cannot use all the modules, so they are with the ship but offline. It is embarrassing to be in a hurry only to get undocked and find you can’t actually shoot anything.
Then it was time to find my own way back to the fleet, which meant finding a wreck or something to warp to, since the direct route from the station was still blocked by bubbles.
I got back in time to see the end of the initial engagement. The long range ammo was out now and we were taking shots beyond the 100km mark as the hostiles headed away from us. The last kill we got there was Doombunny. As the hostiles began to fall out of range, Reagalan warped us off to the staging POS to regroup. There we were joined by one of the hostiles.
I am not sure how this happened, but one of the enemy Scimitars warped to the POS with us, getting stuck outside the shields.
Of course, we were all “Shoot her, shoot her!” but were, for the most part, stuck inside the POS shields and unable to target or shoot. So we started to burn out of the POS towards her. Those who had forgotten to enter the POS password (I do not remember entering it myself, but somehow I landed at the tower) and were bouncing off the shield got a quick kill before we could get there.
We then warped onto the enemy Tengus again and were able to bubble them up and start shooting. By this point their logistics had been pared down so that we were able to alpha Tengus off the field fairly regularly. It became a race to lock up hostiles before they disappeared and the targets called quickly stretched out into a long list. And then they were off again. We warped around a bit trying to catch them, ending up hanging around on the 1DH gate for a while. But that was the end of things for us.
Return, getting a warp in, more shooting. Warping about, catching some more. Warp back to POS, scimitar joins us. Hanging on gate, no joy. The action was over for us.
The fight itself seemed to develop as a slow boil on our side of things. Black Legion, Northern Coalition, and their allies dropped in and established an early dominance with a mass of tengus, which cost use a lot of losses amongst those who came out to meet them at the start of the fight. There was a point where they were “winning” for whatever definition you choose, and if they had been able to extract at that point, they could have made the case for victory. At the end of the first round, Reagalan seemed pessimistic about how we were doing, hoping for a draw on the ISK war after we were mauled early on.
But rather than leaving the hostiles lit cynos and jumped people in as the CFC pot came to a boil. As things moved on the pings for fleets built up on our side, filling out the Harpy fleet and then bringing out a wrecking ball of carriers deploying even as the rest of us were reshipping and returning to the fight. We were fighting right there in our home system, so people logging on had no problem jumping on. The end result of the battle shows things tilted very much in our favor.
Total kills were close, with 358 kills for our side against 315 for the hostiles. But the ISK war fell heavily in our favor, as we lost 16.5 billion ISK in ships to their loss of 37 billion.
We lost a lot of inexpensive ships. If you look at the ships engaged, there are a lot of dead interdictors and Celestises and tier 1 logistics listed for us, all pretty cheap as far as things go, while the hostiles lost mostly Scimitars, Tengus, and Huggins. Those are pricey.
The fight ended up about two hours before the start op I was going to miss, but I had gotten my share of internet spaceship kills for the day, so was satisfied to leave that to others. It was certainly better than the fleet op on Sunday where we flew out to Aridia through a mess of TiDi only to arrive at a fight that had just ended. Pandemic Legion invited us out to help, but I wonder if they just wanted to inflict pain on us as we took 16 very slow gates out to Soliara and then 16 back home again.
There is a write up of the larger, strategic view of the fight at F2OY-X over at TMC. which answers the whole “so how did this happen?” aspect of things.
And naturally, I have some screen shots from the fight after the cut.
Fight at the POS in A-ELE2 July 29, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: A-ELE2, Black Legion, Brave Newbies, Delve, Null Sec, Reagalan
The battle had been raging for a while when I sat down at my computer and saw a list of pings from Blawrf McTaggart, CFC Skymarshall. Most of them were old enough to discard, fleets long since off to the races, and trying to catch up by yourself is a mugs game. But the last one was only six minutes old, a call to get into a reinforcement fleet and get on a titan for a bridge into the current fight.
Multiple doctrines were being called up; Harpies, Celestis, and Apocalypses were in demand. I was in my high sec implant clone, still working away at my leadership training plan, but my timer had run down and I was clear to clone jump immediately. So it was back to my clone in F2OY-X where I jumped into my Apoc, primarily because I had the power grid implant needed to fly the doctrine fit already installed in the clone, and if I was going to lose it I figured I might as well lose it in the ship I need it for.
I was on the bounce right away, into the fleet with the titan to get a bridge, undock, enter the POS password, warp to the titan at 10km so as not to bump it, into the bubble, and then a quick burst of speed with the microwarp drive to get in range because the bridge was already up and I didn’t want to have to wait around for the next group to form up and get bridged.
We landed in A-ELE2 and things slowed way, way down. There were about 1,100 people in the system and TiDi had everything running at 10% of normal speed.
A-ELE2 is not that far away from our staging system in F2OY-X, but it is in the hot zone corner of Delve, the NPC null sec, where our foes are staged and where there are often camps and where a lot of the action happens.
I dropped the reinforcement fleet and changed com channels to find out what the Baltec fleet was doing. Reagalan’s was the FC and he was calling targets already. It was time to get out there, but servers were balking at doing anything. It took half a dozen tries to get into fleet even though there was space available and then it was time for the long, slow warp to join the battle.
Landing on grid was agonizing. My ship seemed to spend an eternity stopped at the battle but still in warp. I could see the targets being broadcast, they were in my overview, but I could not lock them up because I was still flagged as being in warp. Finally, the server relented and I was back in normal space and able to engage targets. Despite TiDi, the enemy, a host of Black Legion Augoror Navy Issues were in a bubble and going down fast. Locking a target took ages, and when you finally got somebody locked they would appear to be only lightly damaged before suddenly blinking out in the familiar destroyed sequence. They cycle time of my lasers was the gating factor for kills. I launched some drones and got those into action to give myself an additional way to deal damage… and to whore on kill mails.
Reagalan had the fleet orbiting the POS tower, which is at the very center of the defensive bubble/shield, at just enough range to be outside of the bubble and able to fire, but also able to duck back in and become immune should they get targeted. After the action, Reagalan asked how many pilots managed to pull off this maneuver, and there was quite a show of hands. That, and reports shared with us about Black Legion complaining about us constantly blowing up their anchor or target caller because we had a spy in their midst, seemed to be tiling things our way.
And then, as often is the case, Black Legion got free of the bubbles and warped off, leaving us alone in space orbiting the POS with no targets. TiDi dropped from the heart crushing 10% to a bearable range as the server was no longer having to keep track of hundreds of ships moving and locking and firing and taking damage.
We sat there for a bit. There was a report of a fight at the 1DH gate, but Reagalan warned us not to just jump in willy nilly thinking we would get a few more kills. So we stayed in orbit of the POS for a bit until the time was ripe, then he warped us all off to the gate together where the Brave Newbies Moa fleet had been bubbled. Then it was a race to lock up targets again before the exploded. Reagalan was broadcasting targets, but they were popping so quickly I just took to sorting by range and locking up everything possible in hopes of getting in a shot or two. That did not last long, the Moas melting like snow under a hot sun.
Then it was back to the POS and into orbit. There was actually a very nice starburst pattern of ships as we landed in a ball on the tower and then turned on MWDs to get out of the shields and into orbit. We waited there for a while to watch the POS for any further hostiles and cover the carriers that had been sitting in a happy, self-repping ball all this time. My corp CEO was in the carrier ball, in one of two Chimeras in a sea of Archons. He wanted me to get a good shot of him, which I figured I had better do because I haven’t done much with the corp in ages. I go on strat ops and click on participation links. I don’t play with our towers, mine, do planetary interaction, or even rat much these days.
After the carriers pulled out, we headed to the 1DH gate where there was a scramble to get through as the ISboxer bombers were out and about and waiting for us to land on the gate. All those people piling on the gate caused a bunch of people to drop, so there was a long wait until people got back online, through the gate, and back with the fleet. Then it was another gate back to F2OY-X and then to the station and done.
I never did get the story as to how this fight started, except that it was over the POS where the brawl took place.
According to the battle report, there were more than 1,200 players involved with over 1,500 ships on the field over the course of the fight, with losses of nearly 48 billion ISK for both sides combined. The split in forces was 686 CFC to 528 hostiles on grid, so not excessively unbalanced. Black Legion and their allies ended up with more kills, destroying 435 ships to the 251 we blew up. On the ISK war, things tilted our way, with the hostiles losing some expensive ships.
That comes out to about 21 billion in losses for the CFC and a little over 26 billion for the hostiles. And we ended up with the POS still intact. So I guess we won.
One bit of intel that got passed along was about TEST, who apparently had 60+ Ishtars formed up at one point, but then did not join the battle. That force might have changed the ISK war if not the overall result of the battle.
Addendum: There is now a write up about the battle over at TMC.
After a quiet week or so, where I mostly collected participation links for sitting on titans by never bridging into combat, or chasing around reluctant foes when we did, it was nice to get into a stand up fight that did not involve us getting blow up in Ruptures. (Rupture doctrine is now dead.) It managed to push me over the 1,000 kill mail mark, though EVE Kill and Zkillboard cannot agree on exactly how many kill mails I have been on over the years. (And Battle Clinic says I have less than 700. No idea what the right number actually is.)
And, as usual, screen shots from the fight after the cut.
Quote of the Day – What Baltec Fleet Really Does July 21, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Baltec Fleet, Null Sec, Quote of the Day, The Mittani
Dreadnoughts were literally a punchline of nullsec jokes until the five-minute siege timer, and now unless in blap mode they scuttle for cover like oversized space-cockroaches, cap boosters firing wildly, when confronted with bright lights.
-The Mittani, Traffic Control: Apex Force
The Mittani is continuing his pot stirring over at TMC with his Traffic Control series of columns. This time around he is on about the current chestnut of favor, power projection, and how it has ruined null sec. I was particularly amused by the dismissal of dreadnoughts, quoted in part above, as a good percentage of Baltec fleets I’ve stood up for over the last year… from midway through Fountain forward… have been called to cover dreadnought fleets.
Of those call ups, a good half of the time we end up just sitting on a titan, a fleet in being, as much there to dissuade any hostile move as to actually shoot something. We only get to go out and shoot if the target system is beyond the range of a titan bridge. And even then, as with recent run down to Delve, we have to move out, cover the system, wait for the dreads to arrive, let them shoot stuff up, then hang out while they head home before we can start for home ourselves.
I actually have all the skills required for a Naglfar dreadnought at this point. It might be time to buy one so Baltec fleet can sit on a titan or scurry across space to protect me.