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.

Continue reading

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?”

The War in Fountain While I Slept

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.

A Prophecy of Murder in G95F-H

Less than a day in our new home at 4-EP12 and we are already out exploring our new neighborhood.

Actually, somebody had already been out and about in the neighborhood, as we had a tower in one of the systems, G95F-H.  On the DOTLAN map that system looks fairly distant, being 8 jumps away and in another constellation.  But in the actual shape of space within the game, it is much closer, within range of a titan bridge from 4-EP12.

Using the in-game map

Using the in-game map

It is hard to tell with the thumbnail, but expanded you can see the two system.  Along the top of the map are the familiar string of systems leading back to the edge of the region and the J5A system.  (Edit: Here is a much better jump map from DOTLAN’s navigation planner.)

The Jump - With Systems Visible

The Jump – With Systems Visible

Anyway, the tower in G95F-H had been put into reinforce and intel had it that TEST was going to come out to try and finish the job. So the call went out for Baltec fleet.

The "How To" of Baltec Fleet

The “How To” of Baltec Fleet

We ended up with two fleets, one under Vily and one under Mister Vee.  Gaff and I and a couple of other corp mates actually ended up in Mister Vee’s fleet together.

As has become the natural order of things, just the strain of the two fleets undocking put the system in 10% time dilation.  If I were to write my friendly and helpful CSM representative about something, it would be the way that such transitions drag the system down.  It is one thing when we are fighting in a huge battle and there is a lot of flying hardware to track.  But a couple hundred people undocking ought not to push the system to its limits.  Null sec issues, I know.

Mister Vee got us all on the titan and, except for a couple of people who brought Tempest Fleet Issue battleships to the party… and who were asked to trade them out for something more appropriate, which included The Mittani coming into coms to say that such ships would not be reimbursed as they were not part of the doctrine… we seemed to have our act together.

We bridged out and warped to the tower, where Mister Vee had us spread out and orbit it just outside of the range of the shield, so we looked like we were sailing around on a crystal sphere.  The timer on the tower showed just a few minutes left.

The Countdown

The Countdown

Spread out and waiting, the word came that the elusive Prophecy fleet, which left us waiting just the other day, was on its way.  As the timer neared zero, a cyno was lit and hostiles began filling up local.  The timer finished, the tower came out of reinforce, and Mister Vee said, “Here they come.”

They landed on grid.  They were bubbled up.  And they were murdered.

Take a look at the battle summary over at dog-net.org. (Edit: Battle Summary is back, but you can still see the raw data at this report at eve-kill.net.)  Here is the key table.  Blue is TEST and ally loses, red is CFC losses, capsules are not included in the ship total at the top.

G95_DogNetKillSummary

We outnumbered them, 470 to 284.  We out gunned them, with a large battleship force facing battlecruisers and bombers.  And, frankly, we out fought them.  They laid alongside us to duke it out, got bubbled, and paid the price.  Their attempts to use the crazy drone capabilities of the Prophecy (drone link augmentors and drone damage amplifiers were part of their standard fit, so I assume they were going to assign all drones to assist the FC ala Jester’s Techno Chicken fit description) did not come to fruition.  Meanwhile the Megathrons were chewing them up to the point that I turned auto repeat off on my guns, as one broadside per target was generally enough.  Of course, if the odds are against you, your fleet doctrine might not be your problem.

If you look at the full report, you will see that it was pretty much just TEST and Tribal Band facing us.  If that is how they manage without their allies, I am going to have to go along with Kirith Kodachi’s estimate that TEST is screwed.  We filled up two fleets and had to turn people away.  Getting participation isn’t an issue for us at the moment.  My main problem during the battle was locking and firing at targets before the were destroyed.  Even Mister Vee sounded a bit nonplussed about the ease of our victory.

102 Prophecy and 24 Hurricane battlecruisers destroyed.  Mister Vee had us “fofofo” in local.

We fofofo

We fofofo

The “fofofo” tradition goes back to the days of Ultima Online according to the Goon wiki, from which I stole these pictures.

Let us "fofofo"

Let us “fofofo”

Why we actually do it is still a bit murky, but who am I to gainsay such a tradition?

And then, as the enemy that remained withdrew, several carriers jumped in to rep the tower.  Finally, a titan jumped in to bridge us back to 4-EP.  All in all, a great event for padding kill totals for us, but what must have been something of a morale breaker for TEST.

We shall see.  While one battle does not make a war, TEST’s performance without its allies does not bode well for them.

As per usual, some pictures of the operation taken along the way.

And Quiet Flows the ‘Thron

Last night I had a chunk of free time so I was hoping I might see some fleet action in Fountain.  I had Jabber up, I was logged into the game, I was ready.  I had ships outfitted for most of the popular doctrines, including a couple of new stealth bombers configured for siege fleet.

There had been some action since earlier in the week when I last checked in.  The CFC managed to take and hold 9-VO0Q, meaning that my map of North Fountain has to be expanded some to show TEST systems that are now on the front line.  So the war continues on.  The CFC now holds 11 of 115 systems, if that is your preferred metric for the war.

North Fountain - July 19, 2013

North Fountain – July 19, 2013

At the time, however, there was a whole lot of nothing going on.  So I put EVE Online in the background and resumed my latest game of Civilization V while I waited.

This time around I took up the banner of Venice, which has some interesting attributes.  It gets some boosts to trade and such, in keeping with the Venetian tradition.  But it also cannot create settlers.  As a civilization it has to grow by other means.  Conquest is one I suppose.  But you also get a “Merchant of Venice” great person every so often who is able to go buy off city states, which turns them into puppet regimes.

That can be a slow process however.

I also decided to go full on for a cultural victory in an attempt to learn how the culture and tourism changes worked.  It is not as easy or clear cut a path as it was before the expansion.  Tourism is a key way to spread your culture, and that is driven by how many great works and such your society has.  It is also driven by other aspects like open boarders, trade, and shared religion and ideology.

By the way, I want to reiterate what I said previously about liking where trade has gone with the new expansion.  In addition to commerce and science, it also spreads religion and plays into tourism.

I do not think I am going to get the culture victory this time around.  As I said, getting there is no longer a simple and direct path.  But it has lead to some interesting turns.  Arabia, for example, is complaining to me that all of its teens are wearing blue jeans and listening to Venetian popular music.

But the best moment was when Germany, who had been friendly up to that point, suddenly stabbed me in the back.  It went from open boarders, declarations of friendship, and trade caravans to the drums of war.  This was trouble, as Germany was the most largest and most aggressive empire and was probably peeved at me for failing to join it in its conquests.  I was technologically ahead of Germany and could hold out for a bit, but Bismark could overwhelm me.

And then, one turn into the war, two German cities defected to my side causing Bismark to sue for peace, saying it was high time to end this horrible conflict..  The cities in question apparently preferred my ideological choice of Freedom over Bismark’s Order choice.  But that situation brought back memories of one of the things I liked about Civilization III.

All of which was interrupted by a call for a Megathron fleet.

Megathron, circa 2007, just because

TEST and pals were reported to be putting together a Prophecy fleet and we were called up to counter and/or murder them.  Or at least to keep them busy while a CFC capital fleet roamed Fountain putting things into reinforce states.

Prophecy, circa 2009

That is my latest screen shot of a Prophecy… at least the latest one I have taken.  I certainly did not get a chance to take any new screen shots of one.  But I am not sure it has changed as much as the Megathron has over the years.

Anyway, EVE was back in the foreground and full screen as we assembled and loaded the ammo and scripts as directed by our FC, Lazrus Telraven.  We jumped out of the B-DBYQ staging system and holed up in a POS in Fountain to wait.

And wait.

It was reported that TEST called off their fleet, then changed their mind, and then changed it again a couple more times.

So we sat on station in the POS as a ready reaction force.  I put EVE back in a window and pulled up Civ V again to continue my campaign there.  Laz talked people into playing what has become the favorite game of the CFC high command since it showed up on the Steam Summer Sale, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare.  It is a first person shooter done up in the age of swords and armor… so if Diablo III in the first person perspective was on your to do list, here is an opportunity.   The game has popped up a couple of times during the sale for as low as six dollars.  I was tempted to join in, though it would have taken me longer to download the game from Steam than people ended up sitting around playing.  Maybe later.

So voice coms turned into cries of joy and pain and amazement as swords sang, arrows loosed, and heads rolled.  And fleet chat idled a bit, with occasional links to videos or more propaganda from the war, including one of my recent favorites.  I love the little Pandemic Legion logo on the bomb.

Literally North Korea

Literally North Korea

I am not sure that it needs the intro lines.  In fact, I think it works better without them.  But that is the way it is being spread about. (Some new TEST propaganda here.)

There were a couple more false alarms, reports of a TEST bomber fleet failing to catch the capital fleet, and some moving about the system to chase off a gate camp, but otherwise it was a quiet night for our fleet.

Eventually Laz gave us a participation link and flew us all back home to B-DBYQ.

Landing back on station in B-DBYQ

Stock footage of Megas landing at B-DBYQ station

We also serve, who only sit and play other games.

And so goes the war in Fountain on a Thursday night.