Going Pipe Bombing

I’ve mentioned a bit about pipe bombing in EVE Online before.

There was that Rooks & Kings video I posted here that was an epic tale of pipe bombing.  R&K and their pipe bombing even made it into last year’s spectacular This is EVE video from CCP.

And, of course, I have been on the receiving end of a pipe bombing operation.  If I recall right, that was the first of pipe bombing incidents that has given the FC Papusa a bit of a reputation.  But even Mister Vee gets pipe bombed once in a while.

But I haven’t had the opportunity to be on the giving end of a pipe bomb attack… not until the past weekend.

Oxygen has been putting together some pipe bombing fleets lately.  He has a handful of pre-fit battleships to hand out, since it is a pretty specific fit that nobody is likely to have sitting around ready to go, so he can get a fleet together.  I happened to be about and ready to play when a ping went out for one of his fleets, so got to try it out for myself.

(I was actually headed for one of his fleets last week, but my main had just clone jumped back to Jita to shop, so I ran to the staging system with my alt only to find that he didn’t even have Amarr Battleship I trained.  105 million skill points, but no Amarr Battleship.  The ignominy!  That’s been fixed since.)

I jumped to the staging system, got in fleet, and got handed a battleship…  an Abaddon, to be specific… and after checking to make sure I could fit everything, it was time to wait.

Waiting is something you do a lot in this situation.

First there was the wait for everybody to get ready.  Once everybody was settled and had the right fit… true to form, one of the Abaddons was not like the others and had to be changed out… it was time to undock.

Pouring out of the station

Pouring out of the station

I am the blue fish in that school.  I applied the Kador skin to my Abaddon, which I had picked up for cheap in Jita a while back, so I stood out in the group.

We then traveled to a systems were a titan was parked in a POS.  This was to be our launch point.  And then the real wait began.

How this works is that all of our ships were fit with a set of smart bombs, which are an area affect weapon that hit everything in the vicinity of your ship, caring not for who is a friend and who is a foe.  All of the smart bombs were of the same model, so did the same type of damage.  (In EVE Online, there are four types of damage, EM, thermal, explosive, and kinetic.)

To protect ourselves from fratricide, each of the ships is also fit with a set of hardeners to resist the same damage type as the smart bombs.  That way we can all sit in a cluster, smart bombs cycling away, and destroy whatever we land on while not killing each other in the process.

The tricky bit to all of this is finding somebody drop on.  We had a scout out in the travel corridors of the region… the pipes, if you will… looking for likely targets.  His job was to find somebody traveling through such a system, catch them in a warp disruption bubble, motor out of the bubble, and put up a cyno.  At that point the titan we were all sitting out would open up a bridge, we would travel through and light up whatever was on the other end.

So the battleships in such a fleet spend most of their time sitting on the titan waiting for something to happen.

Waiting for our moment

Waiting for our moment

This is actually no a bad sort of waiting.  Unlike sitting on a gate or somewhere else out in space, you’re tucked up in a POS and reasonably safe, so you can tab out of the game and do other things.  I launched Minecraft and started building my next project.  All you have to do is sit on coms and listen for the FC to tell everybody to wake up and take the bridge once it is up.

The frustrating bit is hearing the missed opportunities.  The FC is on intel coms as well and gets word of fleets heading towards are area of operation.  Unfortunately, such prey has their own set of goals and will wander in and out of the target area at time without ever getting into the position required.  It requires some patience for an FC and his scouts.  The rest of us just have to be semi-alert and keep ourselves otherwise occupied.

The idea is to catch some fleet traveling unawares and destroy them suddenly with a mass of area affect weapons.

Time passed.  I made progress on my construction project in Minecraft as we waited.

Finally the FC said, “Everybody wake up!” on coms.

I tabbed back to EVE Online, selected the titan and got ready to right click and select the jump option once the bridge was up.  There was a moment of doubt on coms as the FC wavered between bombing right away or holding for a bit before bombing.  Then the bridge went up and Oxygen told us to light up the field on landing.

I selected the option to jump and was off to the target.  On landing I turned on my hardeners first… very important… and then lit up the smart bombs in my high slots.

Smart Bombs are go!

Smart Bombs are go!

I am the Abaddon at the top of that screen shot at the edge of the bubble.

I was rewarded with a kill mail pretty quickly.

Final blow AND top damage

Final blow AND top damage

Op success as far as I was concerned!

I also got the kill mail for our scout’s pod.  Blue kill mail!  But the scout is expected to die in the hail of fire that is a pipe bombing.

Unfortunately, that Svipul appeared to be the only ship we got in our drop.  That would have been a fair exchange for our scout, as the Svipul was a little more expensive than the Sabre we sacrificed.  But then one of our battleships got attacked and, if I heard right, another stopped to help him instead of warping out and he got tackled and eventually blown up.  Losing a 250 million ISK battleship put us deeply in the red for the op.

But I did get to experience my first such operation.

Then it was time to fly back to the titan to wait for another opportunity.

Blue Abaddon heading back

Blue Abaddon heading back

However, once we were back and our armor topped back up again… Azure and Argent remembered to bring along some armor repair drones for that… the FC decided it was time for a break.  We headed back to the staging system and contracted the Abaddons back to him so that the next group could use them.

Not a hugely successful op, or something that had a dramatic impact on the region, but still an interesting time and I got to experience something new.  And, of course, I got a lot done in Minecraft while I was there.

I’d try that again.  It is probably glorious when you get a good drop, and it is still pretty funny even when you don’t.

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