There was the possibility of a Naga fleet last night.
Asher’s pre-op ping said that Nagas or Hurricanes would be the likely ships for the 02:00 fleet. Having secured a few Nagas, I was up for that. Also, Asher had actually stopped by and left a comment on the blog, which I figured was a sign that I ought to log in. (Maybe FC ships will be a topic on his next podcast.)
I was on early, in my Naga, and ready to go. Theoretically the 02:00 fleet should start forming up before that time, but things were not running to that plan, so I hung out in the station, refreshed the fleet finder window every so often, and watched the in-station ads flash past.
I was also on voice coms, but forgot to actually turn on my headset, so I missed whatever pre-fleet banter might have been going on.
Eventually the ping went out, the fleet went up, and we all started to pile in. There was an immediate din on voice coms with people asking, “Canes?” “Nagas?” “Canes!” “Nagas!” in order to figure out, or influence, the doctrine choice for the evening.
The choice, given the turn out and what the opposition was up to, looked to be leaning towards Nagas. The main question was whether or not enough Nagas were available for the fleet. There were only five up on contract along with some hulls on the market that could potentially be fitted out. As people worked on that Asher asked people to get into a Naga if they had one
The Naga count turned out to be low, so those of us who had them had to put them away for another day. Instead of Nagas… or Hurricanes… the fleet doctrine for the night was going to be Thrashers. The Thrasher was the original Minmatar destroyer and is also the basis for the Sabre interdictor, a common sight in null sec.
Since Thrashers are not an official doctrine, this was going to be a free handout fleet where we would all be given a pre-fit ship. This led to the dynamics of Asher trying to get a few people to hand out ships for him so he wouldn’t have a hundred trade windows open up on him. Then we had to open trades with the people who stepped in to do this, though because there is always somebody who isn’t listening, not everybody who X’d up in fleet chat actually had ships to give out. So Asher had to drag the correct names into fleet chat, at which we probably all mobbed the first guy on the list judging from his comments on voice coms.
Eventually everybody who was paying attention had a Thrasher. We were almost ready to go. There was just one more detail.
Asher wanted somebody to X up in fleet chat who had an alt account in the station who could sit there and hand out Thrashers so people could reship if they got blown up. That was met with crickets. Nobody wanted to be that guy. Eventually, after some uncomfortable silence and a bit of chiding, I X’d up, then logged my alt account in. Asher put his name in the MOTD and those who were handing out ships traded their leftovers to him. We were now ready to go.
Asher counted down and we all hit the undock button at something in the neighborhood of the same moment. We cruised out, watching the invulnerability timer count down, not touching anything… well, some of us clearly grouped guns, chose ammo, or loaded scripts into sensor boosters, as a few ships started getting popped. Then there was some problem and Asher had us all dock back up again.
Then we did the undock thing again. I undocked, but people were already saying they needed reships, so I tabbed to my alt’s window, hoping to just catch the fleet warp and be whisked safely away.
However, as I handed out ships in one window, I heard somebody on coms say they didn’t get the warp. It sounded like maybe Asher did just a wing or a squad warp. Either way, when I got back to Wilhelm, he was back in the station in his pod, so I had to open a trade window to my alt as well.
Asher had some of the fleet out and at a safe distance, but a lot of people still needed to get away from the station. The station camp moved some ships to the well known Karma Fleet insta-undock bookmark and sat there farming kills, so I sat in the station for a bit handing out even more ships.
Evenatully the handout queue had subsided and I swapped back to Wilhelm, got in my own Thrasher, and undocked. I went to simply warp to Asher, but he was too close to warp to, so I warped off to my own insta undock bookmark, then warped to Asher. I was finally at the fleet.
That was the only screen shot I have from the whole op. You can see the sensor booster effects on the Thrashers behind mine and, in the distance, the citadel where we would end up shortly.
Once there I had to go back to my alt again to hand out more ships, so I once again trusted in Asher as I took care of administrative business.
Eventually I heard him say, “There’s your target” on coms and got back to Wilhelm’s window. We were warping to the hostiles in order to pick off a Bhaalgorn. We landed, I locked up the designated target and opened fire. However, I was taking some pretty significant damage almost immediately after coming out of warp.
We had landed practically on top of a group of Apostles fitted with smart bombs. They had those running, we were in range, so they were chewing us up right away.
If I understand how things went after that, Asher attempted to warp us away from this vortex of death using his alt, but his alt was too close to the target point, so warping was not an option. By the time that got sorted we were all trying to warp out on out own. I had to swap to a different overview tab, pick a celestial, and select warp, by which time I was safely away in my undamaged pod. The Thrasher popped just before I was under way.
Back on my alt, trade windows began to spring up like mushrooms. I was already low on Thrashers by that point, so I handed out the last ones I had and announced that I was out.
People were arriving back in station, the fleet had been almost entirely wiped out, and, as it turned out, there were no longer enough Thrashers to hand out to equip people for another run. The fleet was over.
On my alt, one person opened up a trade and returned an unused Thrasher, which I turned around and traded back to Asher. But a few trades kept coming up looking to get a ship. At least one person had just joined up, the traditional, “Am I too late?” question when they are way, way too late. By law this must occur at least once on every Imperium fleet op.
Asher thanked us for showing up, encouraged people to buy, build, ship, sell Nagas so we can get enough of them in Saranen to actually use the doctrine, and then posted a participation link in fleet.
Of course, we all clicked on it, at which point the EVE Online client brought us out of the game and to our respective default browsers where we were informed that one cannot click on participation links outside of the game.
As part of yesterday’s patch CCP started on its path to discontinuing the in-game browser by having it force you to use a browser outside of the game by default. However, one of the interesting bits about the in-game browser is that it can grab information about your status in-game, like your location and the ship you’re flying, so you can use that information in your web app. RAZOR had a great navigation app at one point that used the in-game browser. And, of course, the participation link system grabs your character name, alliance, corp, location, and ship type to show that you were there.
That all doesn’t work outside of the game.
Fortunately, the in-game browser is still there. You can open it up and use it still, it just won’t open up automatically when you click on links in-game anymore. So we all had to open the in-game browser, copy the link from fleet chat, then paste it into the address field to get our “being there” accounted for.
So our participation link system will have to change. We have until October for that.
As for the fleet, according to the battle report we burned up 105 Thrashers and 61 capsules for an estimated loss of 895 million ISK (35% of which looks to have been in the form of implants) for 7 incidental kills, to which I am not sure we can even lay claim. So we’ll call that zero kills. The only target the fleet shot at as a unit survived.
At least the ships were free. It is hard to get mad when losing a free ship, unless you also lost a capsule with implants. In fact, I made money on the venture. I insured both ships fully before undocking, which netted me a small bit of money, something on the order of a million ISK. That sort of venture isn’t going to buy me a titan anytime soon, but at least there was one upside for the night.
We shall see how it goes tomorrow.