Up north it has become clear that the locals have decided to get serious about the citadels we have been dropping. Early on they were responding with modest fleets only to find themselves in trouble from time to time even against our own modest efforts. Battleship fleets started coming with force auxiliary support, then capitals started getting dropped, and we even saw supers getting dropped on us.
You can’t really complain about that. We’d do the same on our own home turf. But when our scouts are out reporting on the forces being arrayed against, just standing down instead of taking the fight starts to seem like the most realistic option. We still tend to go to see if we can at least extract some kills from the situation, but the likelihood of us winning any timers is pretty much non-existent at this point.
We had a couple of timers the other night and Asher had promised us something special. When we got online we found that, rather than our sturdy VNIs, he had a different theme planned. We were going out in Armageddons instead. We could then wear our CCP Blaze SKINs for the ship.
There had been a real push to get people to pick up the limited edition SKINs that CCP offered to honor the late CCP Blaze and raise money for his family. Pings went out Imperium-wide encouraging people to buy the SKIN pack, while within Reavers there was an even stronger push to get people to grab them as several of the ships are in our doctrine catalog.
So Asher had a whole fleet doctrine imported and handed out ships in our staging station, trading for logi, boosters, support, and the ships of the line, the Armageddon. I opted for the latter, mostly because I had the CCP Blaze SKIN for it, otherwise I might have considered logi.
As that got sorted out reports were coming in about what was being brought to face us. In Fade, the Astrahus in DW-T2I had Pandemic Horde coming in Machariel battleships and capitals, while the citadel up in Deklein had a Guardians of the Galaxy coalition was also forming capitals, but were going with a Typhoon battleship doctrine instead. The odds against us were going to be long whichever way we chose to jump.
It was already clear to many of us that this Armageddon fleet was going to be a one-way trip, but Asher put it out there on coms and asked us if we still wanted to go. The response in fleet chat was overwhelmingly in favor of going. So we undocked.
We did not have as many CCP Blaze SKINs… or SKINs in general… as I would have hoped. The Armageddon isn’t used very much in the null sec meta, so buying a SKIN for one isn’t much of a priority. If cash or ISK are short, it is arguably a bit of a waste for a ship you’re unlikely to ever fly. But there were also some comments from people who hadn’t gotten the word about the CCP Blaze SKIN deal who would have bought it if only they had known.
That is always the way of things. No matter how much you think you’re getting the word out about something… there was a dev blog, it was in the launcher, it was highlighted in the New Eden store, it was mentioned on EVE news sites, and our own coalition was pinging about it… most people don’t pay that close of attention to their video games. As I have been known to say, if you’re reading this you’re part of some strange minority that probably obsesses too much about games.
Still, there were some CCP Blaze SKINs present.
The first thing we had to do was warp to another station as the one we chose to stage out of does not offer insurance as a service. If we were going to go on a one-way trip opting in on the Platinum insurance plan seemed like a good idea. That goes double for T1 battleships like the Armageddon, which gets a handsome payout relative to its cost. Once insured we got to undock again.
Then it was off to the titan to see where we would be heading. Even as we were hanging around waiting for the bridge it looked like we would be off to Deklein as the INN coverage of the Fade Astrahus timer was already showing the shoot there winding down.
As expected, we went off to Deklein to face the GotG fleet in part, as Asher noted later, because they were flying a Typhoon doctrine, something they declared dumb when we did it, but not so dumb that they didn’t copy it. The fleet meta defies propaganda.
We held there because our scout had reported the hostiles coming that way. Soon enough they were coming through the gate and the fight was on. Bubbles were up and and we were off to the races.
The Armageddon gets boosts to energy neutralizer range as well as drone hit points, so we were sent off to neut out targets near our name alphabetically while putting drones on one set of targets while running our rapid heavy missile launchers against another set.
That did not start out very well. While we knocked down a few Typhoons, their logi wasn’t breaking. And then we spent some time focusing on one of the Apostles that was nearby in the hope of getting a big kill.
That did not meet with success and all the time we were getting whittled away. The ECM fleet that flew up from Delve to join in with us was picked off in short order and the Armageddons began to drop one by one. After seeing that the Apostle wasn’t going to go down we switched back to Typhoons, sending our drones after each broadcast in turn, launching fresh drones when the current ones were cleared away by smart bombs.
The Typhoons did not seem to be hitting us very hard. I survived quite a while with a batch of them hitting me. But once one of the 19 hostile carriers on grid sent fighters my way, the end was nigh for my Armageddon. Fighters eat up sub-caps pretty handily.
I went boom shortly thereafter, managing to catch my ship coming apart only to have the screen shot ruined by the insurance payout popping up during the most dramatic point. Still, it looks pretty neat cropped down.
From that point on I was floating around in my pod watching the fight. A couple more Typhoons went down but we were rapidly approaching the point where we could no longer break their tanks. Fleet chat filled with links to our kill mails as we died and soon logi and support were gone as the final stand ended.
A few ships managed to get away, but the battle report shows we welped and welped hard. I was sitting back in the station in my fresh pod when I saw the bounty payment notification for Asher come in. They saved him for later.
It isn’t a bad thing to place a bounty on your FC. The bounty system will often tell you they’ve been blown up well before you hear it on coms so you are ready to change over to the alternate anchor or get the hell out if appropriate.
Anyway, it all went as expected. We got stuck in, got a few kills, and then died a glorious death in our old homeland. No citadels were saved. All that remains in the CCP Blaze tribute thread on Reddit and some screen shots of our fleet. For the latter I have a gallery below: