When I last wrote, I was hanging around in Mittaningrad, so named, as I understand, for the heroic defense that took place there back in July, looking for something to do.
With fleet ops active, screwing around in empire space or hunting rats in the asteroid belts were officially verboten, so something to do would mean getting into a fleet.
Fortunately, as I logged on to see what was going on last night, there was a convoy forming up to bring people out to our advanced staging point, from which fleet ops were being launched.
With Gaff’s help, I was able to join the convoy fleet just as it was leaving. In fact, due to my fumbling, I was actually a couple of jumps behind it for most of its run. It was a good thing somebody pasted the route into the fleet channel. And with a 100+ ships breaking trail, and a couple of stragglers along for the ride, I do not suppose I was in horrible danger.
I arrived at the staging system, left the convoy fleet and joined Gaff in second fleet, and I did so, as usual, just in time. It filled up to its maximum 255 ships just after I joined and a third fleet started assembling. There were a lot of people out there.
So I warped out to the second fleet leader to see what I could see.
And what did I see?
Lots and lots of ships… including mother ships and titans, classes I had never seen in person before.
There were lots and lots and lots of ships, and more showing up all the time.
But, as usual, I was behind and flailing to figure out what was going on, where I should be, and what I needed to do. I took a few screen shots before it was suddenly time to jump out. This required me to be within 2,500m of the titan opening up the jump and I had managed to drift off while I was agog, so had to get into position.
At jump in there was a fight… I think. I took some shield damage as White Noise stealth bombers tried to disrupt the fleet. I think I saw the bad guys, but due to distrust and inexperience of using the overview as a PvP tool, I was afraid to start shooting just anybody I wasn’t sure about.
And by the time I was sure, they were dead.
We faced stealth bombers a few times, but they did not seem to be that effective. On the fleet channel it was said that they launched too close together, used the wrong bombs, launched from too far away, and a few other foibles.
But in general I never saw more than 20 at a time, which versus 255 in our fleet… plus the other fleets… made for no odds at all.
We sustained a few losses from that first encounter, but drove on to the initial target, where the fleets formed up. We were waiting for a timer on the player owned station tower to run down, at which point it would be vulnerable to attack. White Noise had a number of towers set to time out in a relatively short window and we were there to kill them all, along with structures being protected by the towers, including CSAAs, which I am told have nothing to do with the California State Automobile Association and everything to do with building titans and other capital ships.
These were, as The Mittani put it, with his usual turn of phrase, the “hell wombs” that we needed to take care of in order to ensure victory over White Noise.
We arrived at the first target and had about a ten minute wait before we could start the attack, so I floated around taking pictures.
When we arrived we were told to pick a random direction, turn on microwarp, and spread out until the fleet commander (FC) said stop. My “random” direction was away from the tower and I ended up way out of range of my heavy missiles and could not get back in before the first tower and all its structures were destroyed.
I do like how the titans were looming over the kill.
Then it was time to align and warp off to our next target.
Here I made sure to get in close and when the timer expired, I was able to open fire.
The control tower is in the center of the kinetic missile explosion, while you can see one of the CSAAs in the foreground. And very quickly it went boom, and then the secondaries blew as well.
I think those pictures were all from the same kill… though there seems to be a planet missing in that middle shot, so it might be from another tower kill. Same idea though.
According to the kill mail, I did 0.04% of the damage. Titans and dreadnaughts were doing the heavy lifting, though even the top contributor only just got past the 3% mark.
If you look at the mail, there were 281 Maelstroms, the most popular ship in the fleet, involved in the kill. There were also 26 Drakes, including my own, though I do not think I ever saw more than one other at any given time.
Then it was time to move on to the next target.
Landing on a gate or a similar location in a large group is quite a sight now that trails are back in the game again.
And from there it was servicing a target, moving, and then servicing the next.
Eventually we arrived at the final tower of the night. There was a 25 minute wait for us before we could attack, which allowed me to get up, stretch, and then go explain to my wife what I had been doing for the last two and a half hours since I disappeared into my office for “just a minute.”
This also gave me time to set up Fraps to take a movie of the final attack. It turned out to be a long attack too, at least relative to the previous ones. The titans and other capital ships had gone off to do something else and so it was just second and third fleet left to do the killing.
This is a picture of the attack in progress, so you can see some of the details, including the pair of CSAAs sitting in the bubble.
And then there is the movie.
I started recording the movie 4 minutes into the attack and the edited out the first 5 minutes of the movie, as it was pretty much a loop of use just shooting. There was a lot of fire and reload, fire and reload going on. Basically, imagine the first minute and a half of the video going on for around ten minutes.
I also had to put in a new audio track. Enjoy the music.
It turns out that Fraps will capture all your other commo, so the original sound track was chatter from the fleet coms. While I do not think it divulged any Goon secrets (Lord knows I heard little enough of value during the whole op on that channel), I thought it better not to broadcast, though there was a good exchange in there about the White Noise response to all of this, which I gather was somewhere between, “We can rebuild!” and “We’re letting you get away with this for a reason! You’ll see, and you’ll be sorry!”
The video also plays in higher resolution, at least up to 480p when I tried it.
And with that most people in the fleet were tired and want to go home. We had to “slow boat” nearly 20 systems to get back to our starting point. One of the gates on the way back was camped and a few of those rushing to get home got killed. That camp may have caused nearly as much damage to our fleet as the total White Noise defense effort.
However, I was in the middle of the returning blob… never less than 100 fleet members in local… so saw nothing but wrecks.
Gaff, in checking the kill boards, discovered that his character was on top for our corp for the month of December so far, though he was, by his own admission, “kill whoring” and targeting his guns individually on multiple targets to get in on as many kills as possible.
But even I appeared, for that moment at least, in 8th place with nearly 60 kills on the books.
Not bad for my third day I guess.
And quite a third day it was. As much as I would like to say that the Goons do this every day and twice on Sunday, I gathered that this was a reasonably special operation. I was lucky to be there at the right place and at the right time.
Now what will we do tomorrow?