Daily Archives: June 13, 2013

Traveling with Caracal Fleet

Hey, I can take fuel out of the jump bridge!

What is the password for the bubble on the gate?

How do I use FoF missiles?

-What voice coms are like when we don’t have a solid mission

A couple of years back I was having some sort of comment thread argument with SyCaine about the absolute near-nil likelihood that I personally would ever see a thousand ship fight in EVE Online.  At the time it was something that had happened once and took a good deal of pre-planning by CCP for it to even work.

Since then much has changed.

Early last year with the war in the north, I saw a number of battles where the total number of pilots in local exceeded one thousand.  I was impressed by the battle at EWN-2U, where the total number was around 600.  That seemed like a lot.

Likewise in Delve last year, such large battles happened a number of times.  Remember 49-U6U?

And with the war of conquest going on in Fountain, I was in 1,000+ ship engagements every day for the first five days of the war.  Hell, we had a thousand ships in J5A on our side alone when TEST declined to show, and two thousand on the gate in B-DBYQ when the final timer battle broke out.  If there is a serious fleet op coming up, there can easily be a thousand in local in B-DBYQ with no enemy in sight.

I am starting to wonder if EVE is can keep itself together in the face of its ever growing popularity.  Last year, one of the side effects of Burn Jita was that the system reached a population cap and you couldn’t get in.  Ha ha, very funny, all those people sitting on gates trying to get in.

I logged in last weekend with my Jita alt and was kicked to an adjacent system.  Jita was just full.  It seems it has been reaching its population cap lately, even without Goon help.  Meanwhile, once sleepy Amarr has been hitting a thousand players in local and has had the Jita treatment applied and now resides on an exclusive node.

It is getting busy in EVE.  As Nosy Gamer asks, is 60K the new 50K in EVE?

So in the face of all of that, it was kind of nice to go on a small fleet op last night.

And by small, I mean Lyris only had about 200 people in his Caracal fleet when we pulled out of B-DBYQ in search of… something.

There were other fleets going up and off to do things, but we did not really seem to have a concrete mission.  We jumped into fountain.  I had actually just escaped from Fountain, having been stranded there after the big “server is going down” interruption of the the big fight in EI-O0O the night before, when we were all told not to log back in when EVE came back up.  I take it we were not doing well.  But with the call for fleets last night I logged back in and slipped past a gate camp that just happened to be warping off when I landed on the gate.

Back in our staging system I swapped out for a Caracal and joined the fleet just in time to start hunting the very same group that was camping the gate.  We chased one group around for a while, picking off a ship or two now and then.  I got on a kill mail for a Merlin and an Enyo, both tech I frigates.

Die frigate, die!

Die frigate, die!

I did not even do any damage.  I got credit because I had missiles headed to the target, but both were gone before they got there.  The odds were heavily in our favor.  But that is the face of PvP in EVE a lot of the time.  A dozen ships sit on a gate or a drag bubble killing single passers by and telling people they were in a “skirmish.”

There, stuck into Fountain and, I would guess, acting as a screening force for other operations… we were in the pipe that TEST deploys though… word came down the line that we had serious business to which to attend.  Somebody was shooting up a jump bridge on the convoy route from VFK-IV to our staging system.  We were detailed to go put a stop to that.

Unfortunately, that meant traveling back out of Fountain and then half way up the convoy route to the jump bridge under attack.

And seeing this damn message yet again

And seeing this damn message yet again

At this point our fleet size began to work against us.  Push 200 ships through a gate or a jump bridge and time dilation kicks in, slowing everybody down.  Well, everybody in the fleet.  The people shooting the jump bridge were unaffected.

Caracal Fleet coming through a jump bridge

Caracal Fleet coming through a jump bridge

Tidi also seemed to aggravate some of the new Odyssey bugs, like that one with the overview where it cannot identify the pilot for some reason, so you get a list of neutral ships where the pilot name is the ship type.

Don't shoot these guys

Don’t shoot these guys

Every new expansion brings its own little bundle of joy.

We struggled up the convoy route and managed to land in the our destination system just in time to hear that the fleet that had shot up the jump bridge had just left, their mission complete, the jump bridge now off line.

So we warped to the jump bridge where Lyris put people on repping it.

Jump bridge module

Jump bridge module

As a shield tanked fleet, our logistics were able to repair the shields on the jump bridge, but the slow acting armor repair drones they carried couldn’t begin to make a dent on the armor damage.  The vast majority of the jump bridge hit points are in the armor, the ratio being 1 million shield hit points to 15 million armor hit points.

Lyris tried to whistle up an armor fleet and some triage carriers to come help, but was eventually told by the command structure not to do this.  Apparently, when a jump bridge has been knocked offline, it is easier just to get rid of the old one and install a fresh module than it is to try to repair it in the field.  The POS repairman would be out to take care of things later.

That mission… well… done if not accomplished… we headed back to B-DBYQ as it was getting to the end of US time zone prime time and people like me needed to get off to bed.  Those on summer vacation or in Asia-Pacific time zones carried on the fight.

And the whole night, I never saw more than 800 people in local.  The first time so far in the war.

Of course, that was in part because there had been a giant fight in PNQY-Y earlier in the evening, before I got on.  I just missed that one.

Thousand plus ship fights seem to be a regular thing in this war.