Tag Archives: TEST

L7-APB Falls – TEST Officially Out of Fountain

TEG-SD was the next to last system to go.  That went down about noon on Sunday my local time.  I got into the Baltec fleet for the operation, but like so many ops since 6VDT, the capital ship fleet went and did the work while we sat on a titan, ready to ride in and support them should the enemy appear.

Riding a titan again in Fountain

Riding a titan again in Fountain

Then, about six hours later, the timer for L7-APB ended.  I wasn’t around, but capital ships and a Baltec fleet deployed again for the final stage of the sovereignty grind in Fountain.  There was no resistance and the system was taken.  The conquest of Fountain is complete.  115 systems in, or soon to be in, CFC possession.

Fountain - Aug 5, 2013

Fountain – Aug 5, 2013

Now there is the wait for sovereignty to rise and infrastructure to be built in the region.  And, of course, the need to figure out what to do next.

A Little Gasoline on the Fire in Fountain?

A check of the map over at DOTLAN shows that the sovereignty clean up in Fountain continues apace.  But I did notice a system of a different color this morning.

6VDT-H in Orange

6VDT-H in Orange

The system 6VDT-H, the symbolic capital of Fountain for TEST, the place they went all-in on in last Sunday’s big fight, was given to the CFC alliance Fatal Ascension.

And while what I don’t know about null sec politics and the relationships between alliances could fill a very thick book, I do know that TEST and FA do not get along.  They have come to blows off and on during my time in null sec, often when they were both part of the CFC.  Blow ups between the two nearly kicked off the TEST vs. CFC conflict six months early.  There was war fever back in January over that.

And while shooting did not start, TEST was reset at that time and a real war became a genuine possibility going forward.

Later, after Asakai, TEST made the FA angle part of their post-battle propaganda.

So FA being given that particular system seems to me to be sending a very specific message, and that message is not “We want TEST back in the CFC.”

What do you think?  Is the CFC now spitting in TEST’s eye?

Fountain – The Fighting Goes On

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.

6VDT-H – The Biggest Battle in EVE History Ends the War in Fountain

Well, we won, not only the largest battle in the history of “Eve Online”, but also Fountain. While I was out enjoying a ~victory dinner~, TEST threw in the towel and is now busy retreating to NOL. We have a bunch of clean-up work to do and can’t let our guard down, but hi5s all around and well fucking done.

The Mittani, post-battle broadcast

The Preparation

Sunday was a long day online.

The battle had been in the sights of both sides for a couple of days now, and the work leading up to it started well in advance.

Saturday evening I was actually out on one of the preparatory missions, taking down jump bridges and blowing up the one remaining TEST POS in 6VDT-H.  Afterwards GSOL, the heroes who keep all of our infrastructure going, dropped 26 towers in the system, one at every possible location, so that TEST would have no safe spot at which to rally in the coming battle.  It is my understanding that TEST only figured this out during the battle when they sought to drop a tower to create such a haven and found all the parking spots full.

That work went on throughout the night while I slept.

Sunday morning I rose late.  The op was set to begin at 11:30am local time for me, so I rolled out of bed a little after 9am and jumped in the shower.  After getting dressed and having the “breakfast of champions” (cold pizza and a coke) I got myself logged into my computer and into the various comms channels with well over 90 minutes left before the form up time.

I was greeted by calls to stock food around my desk, to say farewell to my family for the day, and to get online and in a ship and undocked ASAP to avoid the rush.

When I got in game in 4-EP there were already 1,300 people in the system and that number was growing quickly, even as early bomber fleets assembled and jumped out.  I got slowly undocked and joined the mass of Megathrons at the staging POS where we attempted to form a conga line.  It was still nearly 45 minutes before the official operation start time when, faced with 2,000 pilots in the staging system and time dilation hard over at 10%, the decision was made to form fleets.

Six Baltec fleets were created and the megathrons flooded into them so rapidly that I only just found space in the sixth fleet under Zagdul.  All six were full and you could already tell the system was getting stressed.  On a number of occasions, our fleet showed 257 members, despite the limit being 256.

One by one the fleets were bridged out through the tidi.  We went by the numbers, so the sixth fleet went last while command was attempting to form up additional fleets for people still waiting.  Fortunately for us, getting to 6VDT-H involved a single bridge from 4-EP.  By the time it was our turn, tidi was fading in 4-EP and, while there was tidi upon us jumping into 6VDT-H, once the loading into system ceased, tidi went away.  We moved to the station where one of the recurring pictures of the battle was six fleets orbiting the station.

Waiting on 6VDT-H station

Waiting on 6VDT-H station

The view was compared to ants swarming.  I preferred to think of it as bees around a potential new hive.

Then it was time to wait.  Even delayed as we were, there being six Baltec fleet to move out, we were there with plenty of time to spare.  The station still had nearly an hour before it came out of reinforce and the main point of the battle… shoot the station… could begin.

The clock counts down

The clock counts down

We sat in orbit of the station, where we would remain for the bulk of the battle, waiting for bits of intel to dribble in while Solo Drakban was no doubt fretting over the comms infrastructure.  In the past, big operations like this have brought down our voice comms, requiring the server to be re-provisioned to accommodate the load, a process which requires every pilot to go change their Mumble configuration.  Since, at the best of times, maybe 4 out of 5 people actually hear (but not necessarily comprehend) instructions coming over comms, that sort of thing becomes a major undertaking on its own.

So we were told to just stay quiet and use voice comms as little as possible, lest we bring the whole house down.  This actually worked, at least on our channel, which was surprising.  Goons and allies are a talkative bunch and, when left with little to do, will begin to chat or argue about whatever happens to come up.  With the warning in place, for long stretches, it was like being in the “no chatter” channel, where you can only hear the fleet command personnel speaking. (That channel can be a mercy when the topic of the day becomes violently inane.)

We were told about TEST and their allies from time to time.  It was clear that they were forming up (answering the “Will they fight?” question) and that they had at least 2,000 pilots on hand from various sources.  In that at least some of their friends from the east, done thrashing SOLAR FLEET, had returned and there were contingents from Northern Coalition, Nulli Secunda, Why So Serious, joining TEST and Tribal Band for the big show.

Gevlon has a post up about the TEST fleet coming together that gives the view from that side of the battle that is worth a read.

So we sat and orbited the station as the timer ticked down.  At one point a good chunk of us got disconnected and had to ask for re-invites back to fleet on a specific chat channel.  That actually worked surprisingly well.  I just had to type “x for Baltec 6″ and I was invited back immediately.

Finally, the moment arrived, the station came out of reinforce.  We locked it up and shot at it.  Then, finally, TEST began to arrive on scene.  The battle could begin.

The Battle

The local count began to rise and tidi, mostly absent up to that point, began to impose its iron will upon the fight.  3,600.  3,800.  3,900.  Then it was past 4,000 people in system.  TEST got themselves together and landed on us at the station and the fight began in earnest.

And for the next five hours we struggled to kill each other.

Why you name your ship

Why you name your ship

Tidi is one thing.  Everything, including your UI, moves at 10% of normal speed to help the servers keep up.  But beyond a certain point tidi is not enough for the servers to keep up.  And then you have entered the lag zone, where the UI ceases to respond, where you can spend a long time waiting for a target that shows as locked to actually become available, where attempting to activate your guns fails more often than not, where you fear to change ammo or scripts or targets because things just started working and you are afraid to mess with it.

There was a point later in the battle, when the numbers in local dropped down to 3,000 and CCP’s servers began to catch up, that merely being in 10% tidi felt liberating.  Simple things, like your guns activating on the first try or targets actually locking in the time indicated were like a breath of fresh air.  Running at one tenth normal speed is a doddle, if only the client will actually respond to your actions.

As for the battle itself, TEST landed on us and the fleets were intermixed in that odd way that happens in very large fights.  At times I found myself flying between a pair of NC dominixes or through a cloud of TEST logistics.  A Nulli Secunda logistics bantam appeared to orbit me at one point.

Meanwhile, we shot.  Targets were called and we struggled to get our guns to fire on them.  In the end I managed to get on 38 kill mails, primarily zealots and legions, which were our main targets.  I had to change my overview a number of times.  First I had to exclude capsules, which began to litter the field, and which we were told not to shoot.  Let them walk home was the plan.  And then I had to narrow that down to just the current target type so I could lock up the called target, as fleet target broadcasts were taking a long time to arrive on my screen.  I need to sit down and make a series of “just X” overviews, as my more general ones become useless in a big fight like this.

At its peak, the system was moving so slowly that there were times when we were told some intel over comms, we would then read about that intel in the live report updates over at The Mittani.com, and then the actual action would come to pass in game.

One such action happened when TEST and pals appeared to be pulling out.  The rallied around the B17 gate, then changed their mind and decided to end the battle in a glorious death ride straight into the teeth of the enemy (us), which by this time included two reinforcement Baltec fleets and a large fleet of dreadnoughts supported by carriers.

There is a decent summary of the battle posted over at The Mittani.  I will link more as they show up.  The numbers themselves are immense.  The Battle Doctor report , which has finally caught up and settled down so might be somewhat accurate, shows a total 5,095 characters involved over the course of the fight with over 1,500 ships destroyed, and a pile of capsules on top of that.

CFC kills blue - TEST kills red

CFC kills blue – TEST kills red

The battle raged on until even tidi began to ease up.  I was logged in for almost eight hours straight before it became time to take my wife out to dinner.  Lots of people came and went.  Gaff, who was busy at the beginning of the fight, got back in time to join the capital fleet that dropped into the middle of the fight.  Over at DOTLAN stats for the system were prominent.

Over a six hour fight

Over a six hour fight

Not sure how that aligns with the Battle Doctor report.  Maybe it hasn’t caught up after all.  And then there were the big spikes in the 6VDT-H system graphs.

Spikes in the Graphs

Spikes in the Graphs

I did not stay until the bitter end.  After all day on the computer, I took the family out to dinner.  But we were mopping up before I left.  The numbers were down to JUST 2,000 in system and tidi was going away.

The Result

The battle was won by the CFC, as was the war.  Reports of TEST retiring to Delve were in before I arrived home from dinner.

The war is over.  A good thing I got my second propaganda post up last week.  There is a large amount of clean up to be done.  And there will be plenty of groups out there eager for some kills who will no doubt be camping gates.  But operations will be unlikely to face full fleets of opposition.  We are back to the general state of null sec at rest, with 10 man gangs sitting on gates or on drag bubbles between gates ganking single passers by.

While I lived through the big battle, I managed to get myself killed in a silly and embarrassing way by a member of SOLAR FLEET no less… because everybody showed up I guess.  This was after I managed to escape from some NC zealots at the sun, who neglected to bring a tackler with them.  I wasn’t at the keyboard when the critical moment came and deserved to die.  Life in EVE.  At least I lost the cursed megathron that I had problems with at Z9PP-H.  And it was insured.

And since we managed to lose a titan during the post-battle operations, I don’t feel so bad.

There will be lots of musing about this battle.  It was a victory for the CFC as well as for CCP, who managed to keep everything going for a whole day under very trying circumstances, and with the memories of z9PP-H looming.

Coverage of the battle made its way from EVE sites to MMO sites (with Massively noticeably terse and late to the party) to gaming sites to the mainstream news.  Granted, the BBC seems to have a soft spot for EVE Online, and we are in the summer season of slow news, but still that is some coverage.  Various coverage:

And in the blogesphere, reactions and commentary continue to flow about various aspects of the battle.

Added:  CCP has a dev blog posted about the 6VDT battle now.

And then there is what to do with Fountain itself.  While the CFC grabbed the region for its moon wealth, that very wealth will make it vulnerable to those who would seek to mess with the CFC in general and the Goons in particular.  To protect them, somebody is going to have to move into the region.  I expect we will see some shifts in the sovereignty map as alliances get rewarded for their participation in the war.

Finally, there is the spectacle aspect of this, which is where the general media joined in.  A great event happened.  A record was set.  A war was won and lost.  And I was there.

Ironic twist: We didn’t actually take the station.  We just put it into the next level of reinforce.  That was expected.  But those on the outside looking in might be a bit confused over that.  Finishing that off is all part of the “more work to do” aspect of victory.

And after that, what are we going to do in space?

The Pictures

As usual, I took a screen shots during the battle.  A gallery of pictures is available after the cut.

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TEST Invokes a Star Wars Metaphor, Casts The Mittani as Emperor

A new bit of video propaganda that cropped up this week, putting the war into very understandable nerd terms I suppose.

(Direct link here)

The best bit for me was at about 0:32 where the picture they used is one I took. (It is also the thumbnail picture.)

I’ll take that as a compliment.  I do wonder that comments and ratings have been turned off for that video.  That seems very un-Reddit.

We shall see how TEST and its plea fares.  What is assumed by some to be possibly the last big fight of the war, the battle for 6VDT-H, the capital system in Fountain for TEST, their VFK-IV, their Jerusalem, looms.  That battle is slated for tomorrow.  Last night ops ran unopposed.  CFC fleets roam, shooting structures while a TEST oracle fleet tried to distract.  The fight has gone out of them for the last few days.

But tomorrow will tell the tale.

Fountain Downfall

Fountain Downfall

Will TEST rise up and defend their capital, die heroically in the attempt, or just stand down and effectively cede the war?

The bluster so far is that they will fight.

Flood 6VDT

Flood 6VDT

And, frankly, if they won’t fight for this, what will they fight for?

More Propaganda from the War in Fountain

I have continued to collect propaganda from the was that people have linked in local. You can see the last batch I posted here.

I decided that I had best post what I have today, given the uncertain state of the war.  TEST got robbed yesterday by a disgruntled director and then later stood down all ops.  The changes in Fountain for July have all been TEST losses so far.  PNQY-Y and four other systems fell to CFC alarm clock ops last night.  And while the new TEST military director has brave words for the alliance, they seem to sum up to “let’s go die hilariously.”  So on to the propaganda!

TEST vs. Goons

TEST vs. Goons

While I pitch this as TEST vs. Goons, one of the most prolific creators of propaganda during the war has been Marne Deville of Gentleman’s Agreement, an alliance in the CFC.   He has also created some of the best and most memorable pieces and his work is well represented in local.  You will find some of his work below.  Aside from those, which are signed, and one that I recognize from Alizabeth Vea’s forum signature, the authors are unknown.  I post them with the usual caveat that if your work is shown and you want it removed, please let me know.

Propaganda after the cut.

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Flying Cover in Kraken

TEST & the HBC mark 2 have been ragepinging for this moon all day and, hilariously, they have like 50 ships sitting on a titan with a sickly trickle of tired pilots joining them. This is their rage-formup. Can we show them ours?

Original broadcast from blawrf_mctaggart at 2013-07-25 00:54

That was the opening for the call.  Megathrons were needed.  Baltec Fleet was in demand.

This popped up just as my wife was saying that it was time for dinner.  So I launched Mumble, which takes forever to come up on my system, logged in to the EVE Online launcher, then wandered off to wash my hands and have dinner.

Once dinner was over, I walked back to my computer, finished logging into EVE, got on the right coms channel, and got into fleet, taking one of the two spots that were left by that point.

Fleet assembly can take some time, but we ended up with 256 pilots in under 40 minutes on a weekday night with dubious prospects for a fight.

I motored out to the titan to join the flock and await further developments.  Those developments were slow in coming.

Vertically stacked Megathrons Waiting

Our capital ships were out and putting things into reinforce, and we were on hand to oppose any major TEST sub-capital response.  But such a response was not evident.  Gevlon’s post today stated that capital ships are equivalent to morale or some such, and that without the ISK to buy them, you lose.  Though I thought that harnessing TEST carebears was going to solve the ISK problem, which would thus make TEST unbeatable,  so obviously I missed something in there.  But it is clear that the lack of Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition capital support is hurting TEST.

We sat for about an hour on the titan, during which I attempted to make some war propaganda.

Boodabooda is saved!

Things just got real

It is an old joke, but I have a soft spot in my heart for abusing Clippy.  And I even put it on Imgur so I can paste that URL into local just like the pros apparently do.  Go me.

And, of course, I took pictures of things.  I certainly have a lot of Megathron screen shots at this point.

Eventually we did get the call to bridge out to fly closer cover to the capital fleet.

Let The Megathrons Fly!

We ended up flying cover as all of the infrastructure hubs in the Kraken constellation were put into reinforce.

Welcome to Kraken

Welcome to Kraken

There was a TEST bomber fleet around when we were in Z30S-A, but they seemed to be mostly interested in spamming local.  I linked my propaganda attempt in local, where it was derided.  Go figure.  We moved around the constellation, leaving TEST behind, though we did catch one bomber on a gate.  It was dead long before I could lock on to it.  As we finished up there, The Mittani, who was actually logged into the game and leading capital ships, came on to our coms to give us an update on had gone on.

Essentially, as I wrote above, we were the on-call fleet in case TEST rallied enough troops to challenge the capital ships.  He thanks us for coming out to be a deterrent force, spending two hours either sitting on a titan or moving from system to system and shooting the occasional NPC.  We took back an R64 moon and put a bunch of stuff into reinforce.

Our fleet was then bridged back to our staging point in 4-EP12 to let those who had to call it a night log off.  Other fleets were formed up to continue the work in Fountain.  And, of course, the alarm clock ops continued again last night.  I woke to see TEST had lost sovereignty in another five systems.  And even more are queued up for tonight, with the rumor going around that TEST hadn’t been bothering to fully rep structures even when they had saved them recently.

So, for the moment, things seem to be going very much our way in Fountain.  But how long will this happy time last?  We have taken a bunch of systems, about 30% of the total, but only 3 of the 36 stations in the region.

And what of TEST’s allies?  Will Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion return to stiffen TEST’s resolve and stifle the freely roaming CFC capitals?  Are we heading towards a denouement in Fountain, or have we merely reached, to use Churchill’s words, “The end of the beginning?”