Fade and the Art of Structure Maintenance

I was again out with fleets in the north last night.  During the day, if I read the pings correctly, the EUTZ crew was shooting their structures.  But come the evening and USTZ prime time, it was time again to defend our own structured being deployed on grid with the Darkness Keepstar in DO6H-Q.

We formed up in Ishtars again, so I grabbed my Guardian and got in the logi channel to play space priest once more.  Undocked we spread out in front of the station as everybody got together.

Ishtars once more in space

There is always somebody changing to the right fit at the last second, and even I was at the hairy edge of that as there was a call to change the Guardian fit from what I had been flying.

This time out we took gates to DO6H-Q.  It isn’t that far away and nothing was reported lurking between our staging and there.

Ishtars landing on a gate

We arrived in system and tethered up at one of our already anchored structures and looked around to assess the situation.  We had a bit until the first structure finished deploying and entered its 15 minute vulnerability window as it came online.

Coming online in a little over 12 minutes

You can see, in the background of the above, another Raitaru slowly deploying.

Raitaru deploying

By default Upwell structures take 24 hours to deploy, but as part of the sovereignty mechanics of conquerable null sec, deploying a structure in space owned by somebody else ups that time to six days.  So that Raitaru will be ready on Monday morning EVE time.

There was a moment of hope that GotG was going to bring a fight with something new when a Tempest Fleet Issue undock from the Keepstar.

Tempest Fleet Issue

However that turned out to be just one person undocking it for whatever reasons.

As the timer on the first structure ticked down Asher, privy to coalition level intel, decided that the locals were not going to undock a fleet at this point to contest the onlining.  We were going to stay in the area in case something came up, but do something else while we waited.

Asher warped us off to a gate and we jumped, and warped off to a POS where the locals had a jump bridge anchored.  The tower was armed, so we left light stuff with a bit of support back at the gate we came through.  We landed, anchored up, and disabled the warp disruption batteries on the POS first, then started in on the jump bridge module.

Shooting the jump bridge module

This was probably the most challenging part of the evening for logi.  The tower had no shortage of guns and we were big enough to hit fairly easily, with just a couple of shots able to put an Ishtar or Guardian into armor.  Also, when POS guns shoot in their autonomous mode, they switch targets regularly.  This meant a steady stream of calls for reps as everybody seemed to get their turn as a target.

Rep, cap chain, and neut effects on the Ishtar ball

A year from now, if CCP keeps on task, the venerable POS will be a thing of memory and jump bridges will be a different beast,  But last night we were in for the old school experience.  We knocked the jump bridge module down to half structure, then tried to rep the armor back up a bit.  The owned have to decide if the want to spend the time repping it back up or if it is easier to just shoot and kill it themselves in order to drop a fresh module.

We did not get much time to rep the module however.  As we were shooting things on the tower, a small group of locals undocked in bombers, along with one Ferox battlecruiser, in order to shoot the onlining structure.  They were hitting it with enough damage to stop the repair timer, but were making slow enough progress that we had time to finish disabling the jump bridge before heading back to shoo them away.

When we got back into DO6H-Q and landed on grid with the Raitaru, the locals set themselves to warp off.  But the Ferox pilot was a bit too slow on that front and ended up locked down, unable to warp, or even move very fast.

A Ferox in trouble

Asher wanted to let everybody get on the kill, so had us drop just one light drone each.  But as we started to eat through him he has logi start repping him as well.

Repping a hostile Ferox

I do wonder what was going on in the pilots mind as time dragged on and we were both shooting him and keeping him alive.  He kept trying to move and shoot us and launched his drones, which were shot as well.  That is all you can really do, just keep squirming and maybe there will be a mistake and you can get away.

After keeping him as a pet for a while, Asher had us all launch two more light drones to apply damage to see if logi could keep him alive.  I activated my other two reps on him as the extra drones hit.  As it turned out, we could not keep him alive.  According to the kill mail he managed to tank a lot of damage with us repping him.

We were briefly able to capture a Nemesis stealth bomber as well, but it was too fragile and blew up very quickly.

After that we were left alone to tether up and wait for the timer to count down, after which we headed back to our staging.  Or tried to.  On the gate out we got fed a couple of targets and started to wonder if this was a ploy to keep us there.  But once everybody’s aggression timer finally ran down we jumped through and headed home.

We went back because it was late for some people… it was late for me even, though I get up at around 5am, so late is a relative term… so we docked up and let people log off.   A few more people joined the fleet and I decided to stay for the next round.

Asher said that we had intel indicating that they would undock for the next timer so we might get a fight.  That merited a ride out to battle, so we got in range of the titan and waited to be bridged directly to our destination.

Waiting for the bridge

Back in DO6H-Q the locals, like earlier this week, had formed up a fleet based on the Eagle heavy assault cruiser.  However, like last time, they didn’t form up enough numbers to overwhelm us so, once we clashed, things turned very quickly in our favor and they had to flee the scene.

As that happened a TEST pilot, Cpt Sobad (alt of Capt. Soban), indulged him in his alliance’s tradition of shitting up local by haranguing the locals for not being able to stop us despite being in their staging system and under their capital and super cap umbrella.  We, as usual, stayed silent in local.  But seeing an outsider taking the locals to task was amusing.

Cpt Sobad tethered at our citadel

He was able to tether up safely at one of our structures because we have them set to be open to anybody not in GotG or PanFam.  We let him warp out a pick up a souvenir corpse from the battlefield.  He has since returned the favor by writing to PepsiCo about the obvious state of our thirst after this hard work.

That was about the end of the action.  Asher deployed his MTU, named after Erebus SilentKill, the only MTU he will tolerate on the field, and it cleaned up the wrecks so as to leave nothing for the locals.

A Vigil valiantly salvaging wrecks

Once the Raitaru was online a hauler was brought in to fuel it up.

A Prowler and a covert cyno

That was it for the op.  We rolled home without incident.

The battle report for the night, which covers both interludes, shows the ISK war tilted again in our favor.  We didn’t kill as much as the other night, but we didn’t lose anything expensive this time either.  Somehow I didn’t get counted on the battle report even though I was on a few ship kill mails.  The zKillboard related kills shows me, though it has a different time frame.

Also, a side note on the topic of GotG FC Erebus SilentKill; he apparently has decided to quit EVE Online, for which he was memorialized and/or mocked over on zKillboard, depending on how you look at it.  We have faced him more than a few times lately.  He was the one harrying our fleet when we went back to shoot the Sotiyo again.  On the other hand, he was also streaming his fleet with no delay and talking about his intentions, so handed us a bounty of intel.

Anyway, I wonder what the leader of GotG, Sort Dragon, who is vacationing in Japan currently, will have to say when he gets home?

Addendum: See my comment below on what has happened this morning, including the theft of a Keepstar.  More links there.

10 thoughts on “Fade and the Art of Structure Maintenance

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    And apparently we just stole a bunch of stuff from GotG including a Keepstar. I am sure there will be an INN news item about how this came to pass.

    From a ping earlier:

    “As of right now a GOTG keepstar waiting to be anchored has been stolen, all their super and titans in build cancelled and destroyed, their assets stolen, and Deklein fortizars are flipped to Goons.”

    Reddit thread.

    News item over at INN about this.

    Also jump clones.

    Like

  2. Gevlon

    May I ask what are you fighting for? It’s sure not space, you can mine and rat enough in Delve. Are you hating them for something? What is your plan after you took their space?

    Like

  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Gevlon – Are you being deliberately obtuse? What were MOA’s goal when you funded their pin pricks against us? They were never going to take our space by killing a few ratters or miners, so what was the point of that? Can you not imagine any usefulness in simply annoying our rivals and foes?

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  4. Gevlon

    What make them your foes? Is there a cultural resentment like it was between MOA and Goons (independent freemen vs all-conquering empire)? What makes GotG evil in your eyes that warrant fighting without in-game reward?

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  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Gevlon – Again, I might ask you the same thing about your time funding MOA. And what really constitutes an in-game reward? If I am not engaged in ISK generation am I playing the game wrong?

    If you believe in narrative, as with the old MOA vs. Goons, then GotG holds Deklein, long a home of GSF, and were part of the coalition that threw us out. CO2 has been dealt with, now it is the turn of GotG.

    If you want strategic reasons, null sec tends to resolve itself into coalitions. In the north Pandemic Legion and its allies, which include GotG, are a primary rival. Weakening them via their allies serves our long term interests.

    If you want a more limited vision, then keeping combat pilots active and entertained means they are ready should war come. If they get bored they might wander off to other organizations that promise fights and end up shooting their old corp and alliance mates. So it is in our long term interest to spend some of our accumulated wealth keeping combat pilots sharp and happy. Alliances that go full care bear in null sec tend to disappear.

    I could go back to Delve and train into a super carrier and rat, or train into a Rorqual and mine, and make more and more ISK. Lots of people do that. People in our fleets are known to be doing that on another monitor. But I find it dull and I have enough ISK to keep myself going for ages at my current rate of expenditure. I’d rather go be a combat tourist fighting little fights in the north than rent a moon from the coalition and make billions of ISK with each frack.

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  6. Gevlon

    @Wilhelm: so you assume that there will be another war one day and you must prepare for it, both by weakening potential enemies and keeping your army in shape.

    That’s a fair answer, but I believe it’s wrong. No one will come for Delve and Goons will not come for more regions, because everyone has more than enough space for everyone forever.

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Gevlon – Except that your statement about everybody having enough space is demonstrably untrue. The east of null sec has seen an ongoing series of wars for territory. Just this past week the DCU coalition, which includes old CFC/Imperium alliance Razor, ended up evac’ing their space after a protracted fight.

    Closer to us CVA has been evicted from most of Provi by PL. PL doesn’t want/need that space. They have better space up north.

    Meanwhile, although we’re cozy in Delve we still maintain Querious as a buffer region, turning it into a sandbox for some constellation sized alliances to try out null sec. And then there is Fountain, which we own again because we got tired of the chaos that let people stage there to raid our systems. And we have a bite out of Cloud Ring as well.

    I agree that a straight up invasion of Delve does not look likely. But that is not the only scenario that might harm us. Furthermore, not looking after our defenses and keeping a core of FCs and pilots sharp through activity, seems like a path that would make an invasion of Delve a greater possibility. And I am pretty sure a sizeable force could/would coalesce if Goons looked weak in Delve whether or not anybody wanted/needed the territory. There was a lot of rhetoric during the Casino War about wanting to drive Goons from the game.

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  8. Gevlon

    @Wilhelm: Delve gives 1/3 of the total mineral and bounty income of New Eden. Every other region is capable of the same, they have less output because less people rat/mine. Ergo, no one is in the position of “I need place to rat”, everyone (except Goons) are in the position of “I could house 10X more miners and ratters in my current space”.

    You said it yourself that PL doesn’t need Provi, they are just being dicks with the locals. However “being dick” is only possible if your alliance wants space for sentimental reason. You can just shrug if you lose your space and move one region away, evicting a lesser alliance (80% of the current space is held by alliances who couldn’t field 100 pilots). “You’ll be beaten to lowsec” is no longer an option.

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  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Gevlon – First, every region is not equally capable. Go dig through DOTLAN and aquatint yourself with the wide variations in region sizes and moon density. And that doesn’t even take into account the geography of New Eden. PL wanted Tribute for a reason; a connection to high sec and proximity to Jita. One downside of Delve is that we are far from Jita, which is why production is so high there. Sellers don’t compete against Jita prices, but Jita prices plus shipping, which was 1,500 ISK per cubic meter the last I checked.

    Second, your “move one region away” idea isn’t at viable. I just mentioned how the DCU coalition got “beaten to lowsec” just this past week. Point on the map where they should have gone. You aren’t up on the reality of the situation, this is just you making up a theory but not testing it against the data available.

    Finally, “being a dick” always counts. Any mineral or ratting potential of a region is nil if you have hostiles sitting on top of you. Again, as noted above, one of the key reasons that Delve has such a bounty of mineral output is that the Imperium holds two of the adjoining regions and has a quiescent ally in the third (Period Basis). The Imperium also aggressively defends its space. GotG has had their “bee control” program going for a while down in Delve. They were bubbled and camped into their station in NPC Delve around the clock for more than a week and anybody who managed to slip out was chased down. And, of course, at the same time we were still up in Pure Blind dropping their miners and ratters while coming and going freely from our NPC station. Now they are finally waking up and getting serious. They are halting ratting and mining ops and pulling anybody still in Delve back home to help defend against us. And so Delve is safe(r) for exploitation again, a potential enemy is weakened economically, and a bunch of Imperium combat pilots get to enjoy themselves and keep in practice.

    Yes, in theory there is enough null sec space that every group currently in null, plus likely a lot more, could be assigned sufficient systems to make them as rich per capita as Delve, leaving aside moon mining. But they would all have to play nice and not shit on each other, and we know that isn’t going to happen. At some point in the future as the population declines there will no doubt be patches of null sec laying fallow for anybody to grab. But we’re not there yet.

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