Everybody seemed to have a plan for the first day of the null sec local blackout.
Well, not everybody.
One question I heard fairly often was about whether chat was broken again because nobody was in local. No matter how far and wide you think the word has been spread nor how much build up any change to the game has, there will always be a significant percentage of the population that won’t get the memo.
But at least various groups had plans. And the plans seemed to mostly involve roaming into other null sec areas looking for targets. I saw a ping for a DBRB interceptor fleet seeking to roam far across null sec and, about an hour later, a ping for an armor assault frigate fleet under Silvana Cadelanne. Those two fleets were connected, but I didn’t know that when I joined the second.
Armor assault frigates, usually a Retribution/Wolf/Enyo mix in the main line, means getting out one of my lesser flown logi ships, the Thalia.
I don’t get to undock this guppy-shaped tech II Navitas variant because we tend to fly Harpy fleet more often. But this time I was able to clean up this ship, long languishing in a dark corner of my hangar in 1DQ1-2. I could have bought a Deacon, the Amarr logi frigate, but it is seriously one of the most awkward looking ships in the game. There are some lines I cannot cross.
Silvana Cadelanne got us undocked and headed via Ansiblex jump gates towards TEST space. We gated out was into their space through the strange quietness of silent local, doubly weird in any location where Dreddit might be recruiting.
But we were not there for TEST or Brave or anybody else in the south. We were there for a wormhole that sent us into the Metropolis region. There we headed towards Geminate. However, arriving there, the FC informed us that our plan… which was to link up with DBRB’s fleet in order to assist in taking down a titan or a super or something… had been thwarted by DBRB lighting off after some distant target with his interceptors.
We were in Geminate already, so the FC decided we ought to do something, with “a blaze of glory” being mentioned as a possible plan. He did seem a bit nonplussed at the lack of Pandemic Horde activity in Geminate, though he had been drinking and had likely forgotten that PH had moved to The Kalevala Expanse. With that straightened out, we headed towards TKE looking for trouble.
We slipped into the region and went straight for their staging in R1O-GN. Uncloaking there, in full sight of their Keepstar, and taking a few pot shots at people close by, it became a question as to what we should get up to while the locals figured out what to do about us. Then somebody spotted an abyssal signature… the in-space indicator that marks somebody running an abyssal pocket will exit… and we decided to hang out on that. Maybe we would get a Gila kill.
As we anchored up and flew around the marker, the locals began to stir. An Abaddon first landed near us, which gave us our first target. From that point forward the fight was on. Hostiles began warping in on us and we were suddenly very busy
What came about was an odd bit of asymmetrical warfare.
The locals began piling on us with everything to hand, from frigates to carriers and dreadnoughts, looking to stomp us with sheer weight of numbers.
However, this kitchen sink fleet composition was coming at us in dribs and drabs and was not coordinating their effort. That meant that our fleet, unified in doctrine and taking targets from the FC, was able to inflict quite a bit of damage relative to our numbers on the field. For several minutes our assault frigates were able to skate around the battlefield taking down targets while our logi was saving people and each other. Being in the logi wing then was a very busy time.
That advantage was fleeting however and, as more and more hostiles landed on us, they began to get their act together and focus on the logi. They seemed more eager to pop the Deacons than my Thalia, and soon I was the last logi left. I had all reps on the FC, who was now primary for many of the locals, when he warped us out. That came just in time for me.
The FC’s ship blew up even as we were warping. Our moment of glory had passed. It was time to get out if we could.
The FC directed us to warp to the “QG” gate. However, R1O-GN is one of those systems that has exit gates to two systems with very similar names. (There is one system where two adjacent systems that start with the same three letters, which always causes confusion.) We were close to the “GQ” gate when he said that, so people asked if he was sure and, since he had been drinking, he had to check. Eventually he confirmed what he said and, as we warped, he gave us a destination.
Jumping through the gate we found that the route to the destination led us back into R1O-GN. He checked again and gave us another destination. By that point we were getting spread out, some of us having gone back into R1O while others waited for a new desto. I was a bit ahead of the pack, free burning for the way out. However, as I noted last weekend in the post about dropping on PH’s move ops, there is only one way back to where we came from, and you have to pass through 1S-SU1. The locals were well aware of this and were waiting on the LEM gate in that system. I was one of the first through so was too late to heed the warning about the camp. I decided to just press on, since my only other choice was to crash the gate, and given the state of my ship it wouldn’t take much to blow me up.
And they got me. I was pretty quickly blown up, then podded, then back in my hangar in 1DQ1-2. End of the fleet op for me. Some people did get out. For whatever reason the hostiles didn’t bubble the 1S-SU1 side of the gate, which let some people slip through. Others turned around and went out via Vale of the Silent.
But, not matter what, we got our money’s worth out of that fleet. A blaze of glory was achieved.
I would like to summarize the outcome, but with ZKillboard down, you cannot create battle reports or even see kills for which you did not get the final blow. For me, ZKill being blacked out is one of the downsides to this event. I want to see the battle report. I want to see how many or few hostiles we managed to zap before we ran off. I want to see how the brawl played out, with nice columns of time stamped kills dammit. I want the data.
I know some people are cheering it being down, and even asking that it be kept offline, but I am not in that camp. The main argument against ZKill seems to be a nebulous argument that kill boards ruin the game, which strikes me a being akin to suggesting scores in kids sports are bad.
But beyond that, bragging about your kill board is so looked down upon in the EVE Online community that before you can talk about your kill board you must first write a paragraph declaration about how you much you do not care about your kill board, before going on to prove that you probably really do. Basically, we already have a system of social control around kill boards, so just let us have the information about what happened and get on with it.
Anyway, that was my big blackout inaugural roam. And it was pretty good.
I did go on another op later in the evening which had its own bit of comedy. We were in an Eagle fleet, flying through Delve to cover a timer, and while watching the local intel channel, it became clear that people were using their directional scanners, but perhaps not paying as close attention to the results as they should. Several times we saw something like this:
Given that dscan reports the name of your ship as well as the type, and that the most common ship name in our fleet seemed to be “GSF Standard,” which is what you end up with on a lot of pre-fit contracts, it seems like a bit of thought should have to occur before people panic.
Then again, if I were a hostile FC I might just have my whole fleet rename their ships “GSF Standard” if only to sow confusion.
Addendum: Now that ZKill is back up and has caught up on its backlog processing I was able build a battle report to see what happened in out little brawl. Here is the header from the battle report.
The ISK total gets balanced out if you add in the losses to the gate camp in 1S-SU1, though we did pick up a couple of kills along the way as well. All in all a fun, chaotic fight and I was fine not having to walk all the way back to Delve.