Down in Queirious, we seemed to be starting off weekend on the back foot. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Reavers had been driven back to our one staging system by Darkness and their allies, our gains made during the Delve conquest retaken.
Foothold in Querious
And as I logged in for the op the other night, things looked somewhat grim. Darkness had our staging system SBU’d, our main POS was reinforced, and we were there to try and hold them off as the timer ticked down.
Timer on Education Friday night
That we were not able to hold the region was no real surprise. Reavers are not a large group. Operations are often just 20-30 pilots flying away from where the enemy is to hit them where they are not, shooting their SBUs, dropping our own, reinforcing towers, dropping siphons, and generally being pests that fade away when confronted.
But we are in a time of transition. Alliances and coalitions in null sec are shifting about, often hunkering down, in anticipation of the sovereignty changes coming this summer. The Imperium is inwardly focused, setting up the Seven Regions to be defensible under the coming new reality. As such, there isn’t a lot of combat ops going on, and there certainly isn’t any large deployment of campaign of conquest to take part in.
In this situation, the Reavers were still hanging out down south. Our leader, Asher Elias, said that if we could get better numbers, we could start getting into fights with Darkness, as their numbers were not all that huge. So a new round of Reavers recruiting went out, this time with the promise of doing something more that just shooting structures. Even The Mittani was out pinging on Jabber about Reavers getting fights that were big enough to be interesting, but small enough to not bring on time dilation.
We also end up getting some support down south thanks to convenient wormholes allowing fleets from Deklein to pop in for an evening. And so it was that even as we seemed to be on the brink, with our system vulnerable, we were able to take the fight to the enemy. Basically, that first evening, we got numbers early and were able to go camp the undock of their station in I1Y-IU.
Reavers on the move
On their undock we were able to hold our own and convince them to give up after a couple of brief exchanges. (Battle report, which I got from today’s null sec update) I even got my recently reactivated alt out and into an Ishtar, where he got a few kills thanks to the ongoing magic of drone assist. I assigned his drones to assist Asher, anchored him up, and then went back to flying Wilhelm in his Basilisk. Suddenly my alt, who I had trained up for combat at one point, had some kills.
We were then able to head back to ED-L9T and rep out POS, shoot the hostile SBU, and then cover the dropping of our own to secure the system.
Fun times. But Asher had a further treat in store for us. He announced a new Reavers doctrine. In addition to Ishtars and Vexors and Crucifiers, we would also be flying Ravens.
This was the fleet doctrine I had been waiting for. I had all those Raven and cruise missile skills trained up way back in 2008. Now I would get to use them. I even had a couple of Raven hulls sitting around in Amarr space, left over from level 4 missions way back in the day, ready to be re-purposed. I got the fit, loaded them up, and set out for our staging system Wilhelm and my alt each flying one.
Ravens arriving in ED-L9T
And while demand for Ravens was high… contracts for them kept selling out almost immediately… our logistical team was able to keep importing them so that we were able to form up our first Raven fleet. The operation was a moment of opportunity, as Darkness was away. Pizza had baited them to another system some jumps away and then put up bubbles on every gate on the route back home, so Darkness was mired for some time.
This allowed us to SBU their staging system and reinforce their station, setting the shield timer.
That was great fun, but I think most of the time was spent being great big nerds and talking about our new toys. Watching the smoke trails of missiles hitting the station or the simply unfamiliar shape of and old school battleship was the highlight of the evening.
Missile exhaust trails. That big white ship is a Nestor.
The only opposition we faced was a bomber pilot who tried to hit us a couple of times. That let us try out the smart bombs we all had fit, as used correctly those can kill incoming bombs.
Smart bombs activated
We missed the first bomb, but intercepted the second one. Unfortunately, we also managed to kill a couple of our own frigates that were standing in close to the battleships, which was hilarious at the time.
Once we set the shield timer, killed the repair and fitting services, and discovered that there was no infrastructure hub in the system to shoot, Asher sent the small ships off to the gate for home, then had the battleships align to the gate. We were going to land 100km off the gate, at which point Asher told us to activate our micro jump drives. (Lore behind MJDs) This would lets us experience another aspect of the doctrine. As we landed, we activated the drives.
MJDs lighting up
However, as we landed, some ships started bumping each other, changing their alignment. This cascaded until the moment the drives were about to engage.
All that jump energy distorting space
Micro jump drives jump you through space in the direction you are pointed when they go off. So rather than all of us jumping straight to the gate, we all went off in a variety of directions in something of a MJD star burst pattern. About three of us actually landed on the gate. My alt was one of those who hit the gate, primarily because his skill level was so low, so his activated later than most. I realized he couldn’t use MJDs just as we were about to undock, so bought the skill and started training it as we headed out. I don’t think he had the skill up to 2 by the time we did the test.
We collected ourselves back on the gate and jumped through, headed for home. op success, as we certainly had a good time.
Getting the Ravens into combat though, that is going to be a more difficult nut to crack. Occasionally we run into people who just don’t know what to think of us, like this Imperial Navy Slicer that we locked up at about 80km range and who thought he would just burn away from us. With my skills, I can lock out to 150km and my missiles keep going to 220km. He wasn’t pointed or webbed and a few volleys of cruise missiles caught him before he could out range them. Again, hilarious.
Our fight with a Darkness T3 fleet however did not go so well. They came to hit us while we were reinforcing a tower they had set up in our staging system. When they arrived there was a period of warping around trying to gain advantage, but in the end when we got into engagement range, we had trouble breaking their tanks while they were able to whittle down a couple of our ships with every clash, often because somebody was slow aligning and didn’t get out when the rest of our fleet warped.
We eventually reshipped to Ishtars, at which point I jumped into a Basilisk and joined the logi force trying to keep people alive. Then there was a report of a Darkness triage carrier in the system and we swapped back to Ravens again to hit that, though I stuck in with the Basi as we seemed to need as much logi as we could get.
I had some problems in the logi role when it came to the Ravens though. At one point the Ravens lit their MJDs to jump into range of the enemy, which sort of left the Basilisks hanging in space by themselves, well out of rep range. We were told to light our microwarp drives and overheat them to catch up.
Here is where I ran into problems, where I always seem to run into to problems. I don’t know if it is me or the UI, but I cannot seem to reliably turn off the overheat option. I clicked on the UI element to overheat my mid-slots, boosting my speed considerably, and I got the glowy green outlines on the modules indicating they were overheating, and I saw them taking damage. But then I couldn’t seem to turn off the overheat options. I clicked on the UI element again, and it seemed to take. But then the modules were all glowing green again. So I clicked it again. And again. And then, soon enough, all of my mid-slot modules were burned out and I was a slow, easy target, my hardeners having all gone with the MWD.
This is not the first time this has happened happened to me.
And I felt all the more stupid because Arrendis, the logi anchor, said on coms not 30 seconds before this happened, “Don’t burn out your prop mods!” So when he was asking why I was lagging behind I had to say that I burned out my prop mod because I am just that bad at EVE Online. Oh the ignominy!
So I fell out of range as I tried to keep up my part of the cap chain and rep people as I went. I just go lucky nobody targeted me. As I fell too far back, I dropped out of the cap chain and warped to the station for a quick repair, but by the time I was able to undock again the fight was over and we were headed back to the station. The battle clearly did not go our way, with us losing about seven times as much shipping when measured in ISK, with us losing a little over 8 billion ISK to their 1.5 billion ISK loss. (battle report, also a write up over at TMC)
Of course, over 40% of our loss value was tied up in three stupid-expensive ships; Arrendis’ Nestor, christmascaveman’s Barghest, and WhiteHalo117’s Raven Navy Issue were the high value targets of the evening. (And, thanks to smart bombs, I got on the Raven Navy Issue kill.)
Still, we clearly need to work on that. But even with the loss people were still excited about Ravens. After ages with Ishtars, flying an old school battleship and using missiles is new and different.
Some more screen shots from the weekend.
Basilisks heading out
Asher hitting an SBU up close and personal in his Vexor
Mtak’s Tornado getting armor reps
Ravens arriving in ED-L9T
Reavers on the move
Missile exhaust trails
Nestor firing on the station
Revelation joins the Ravens
Cruise missiles skirting past the Rev
Smart bombs activated
Aligning out from the reinforced station
Ravens returning home to roost
Mordu’s Frying Pan, a Barghest at the POS shoot