Category Archives: entertainment

Is Raptr Dead or What?

I know the site is still up, and I can log in when I go there, but otherwise things seem pretty dead around Raptr these days.

I actually uninstalled the Raptr client a few months back because it wasn’t tracking games I was playing with any accuracy any more.  Primarily the problem was with EVE Online, which Raptr has always seemed to have problems with, though I am not sure why.  Both Discord and the Twitch client (which used to be the Curse client until Twitch bought them, and which I only keep around to keep my World of Warcraft addons up to date) both seem to know when I am playing EVE Online, so it isn’t like CCP is trying to hide the operation of their client.

Anyway, Raptr was gone.  I filled out the little exit survey to tell them about my issue and went on my way.

Recently though I have noticed that some of the instant messenger channels through which I keep track of people had started to fade.  Yahoo is the primary culprit here, having gone through a bout of cutting off third-party support to build a wall around itself in hopes that people would like it more.  No more watching multiple accounts via Trillian.  Instead you have to use their ad-tastic and awkward client.  I especially like how they now refuse to push email notifications to the built-in iOS mail app.  They couldn’t bring themselves to cut it off completely.  Instead they make it slightly less useful and pop up a dire warning about third party apps when you log into mail on their site.

So I put Raptr back on my computer.  It was one of the IM avenues I shared with Potshot, and with the coming of the the Mordor expansion and exploring plans to return to LOTRO I though it might be a good idea to have that available. (My Raptr friend’s list is mostly people who have not logged into the site in ages.)

However, since I put it back on the client has failed to log on most days I have tried.

My account is still good.  I can log onto their site directly with those credentials.  The client, however, fails.

I know Raptr has been looking for a new path, having failed, as so many have before them, to find the magic to create a general online gaming community portal.  They tried game tracking and instant messenger, repeating what founder Dennis Fong did when he launched Xfire.

That was the bit I signed up for.

They tried doing online forums and putting out play time stats and the like.  Then they tried their hand and optimizing your graphic settings, playing the utility role.  Then they dumped their console support to focus on the PC master race.  Then they got into video with their Plays.tv stuff, which I turned off almost immediately.

And now, looking at their site, their latest press releases and blog updates are almost a year and a half old at this point.  The place seems dead.  When I uninstalled the Raptr client again, even the exit survey was closed, like nobody was home.

So what is happening at Raptr?  Have they just given up?  Does anybody care?

Tower Tour of New Eden

Player-owned starbases, the POS with its spherical shield and its central tower and its modules, have been a staple of New Eden.  They have long served as bases, manufacturing facilities, and moon mining platforms.

I didn’t really know much about the POS and its operational dynamics in my high sec days.  But once I moved to null sec back in December 2011, the POS became a regular feature of operations.  My first big op in the coalition had us forming up on a titan at one POS to be bridged out in order to shoot a hostiles POS, a tempo of events that would repeat itself many times over the years.

Attack on a capital building POS in 2011

However, the long serving POS is going away.  CCP has been transferring POS capabilities and bonuses to the new Upwell Consortium structures.  Come the Winter release and the introduction of drilling platforms the POS, made completely redundant, will be removed from the game.

I was thinking about this the other night in Hakonen.  We were making a sweep of moons to destroy towers left behind and it just so happened that we hit at least one tower from each empire.  Unlike citadels and the like, POS towers are like ships in that there is a flavor from each of the empires.

As we were shooting them I decided I ought to get a few last screen shots of such structures.  I will no doubt see more as the war goes on, but I might not see them all again.

They were mostly unfueled so the towers… often called “the stick” on ops… were just sitting there in space as we shot them.  Here are towers from the four empires.

Amarr

I actually didn’t think about taking screen shots until after we hit the one Amarr tower on the clean up op.  However, Amarr towers seem to be the most common in New Eden, so I can make up that deficiency with screen shots from recent ops.  Amarr towers show the same design characteristics as Amarr ships, with flowing lines and an affinity for beige.

Minmatar

These come up every so often, but not so much as Amarr does.  Again, the design aesthetic is that of the empire, in this case rust and raw girders.

Caldari

In the standard Caldari Gray #7, the Caldari tower is less common and more boring.  But it does show damage well.

Gallente

I cannot recall the last time I saw a Gallente tower, with its distinct semi-balcony top.  They are a rare find, so I was glad we got to blow up two.

And so it goes.  Blown up, but not too long before their extinction.

This post hardly captures the full variety of tower, which come in different sizes and have pirate faction versions available, not to mention the variety of modules, but it gives a flavor of what is out there in New Eden.

Soon ops will stage solely out of citadels and no longer will we be warped to a POS to get in range of a titan, trying not to bounce off the shield, waiting for the words, “Bridge up! Jump! Jump! Jump!” to be spoken over coms.

An performance recreated thousands of times

 

Friday Bullet Points – Financials Time

August, being the second month of Q3, is the herald of the Q2 financial results.

Activision Blizzard – Q2 2017

The quarterly results for Q2 2017 were out last week for Activision Blizzard.  Blizzard remains the big money maker in the A/B/K company mix.  You can find the data over at the company’s investor relations site.

Activision Blizzard Q2 2017 Financial Results Presentation – Slide 11

In the details the company reports that the Legion expansion continues to out perform the Warlords of Draenor expansion, which isn’t too surprising, given that players finished up the latter content and left in droves such that the company stopped reporting subscription numbers.

Apparently unhappy with monthly average users, MAUs, they also dropped a Daily Average Users claim, DAUs, on the report as well.  I am not sure why they felt the need, the nonsensical MAUs didn’t really need propping up so far as I could see, but maybe there was some empty space on the slide they felt they needed to fill.

Overall though, Blizzard remains the consistency champion in the company.  The mercurial Activision will blitz past it on quarters where it has a big release, but Blizzard delivers quarter after quarter with much less fluctuation.

SuperData Reasearch – 2017 So Far

I post the monthly chart from SuperData Research on the theory that even data of dubious completeness can be of value if collected consistently over time.  One problem is that the charts are just rankings and do not include hard numbers, so one cannot know how much weight to give the bottom half of the chart, the only portion that tends to change from month to month.

SuperData has thrown us a bone on that front with a six month roll-up chart for 2017 so far.

SuperData Top Ten – First Half of 2017

This gives a somewhat better idea of who is in it for the long term as the sudden blips due to updates or promotions get ironed out over time.   World of Warcraft seems pretty secure in the fifth spot on the PC front, while CS:GO is on the cumulative list even though it dropped off the top ten monthly list last time.

On the mobile front, neither Pokemon Go nor Candy Crush Saga make the cut.

This chart isn’t up on the SuperData Research blog.  It went out to people who are on their mailing list along with another chart of data tidbits and an invite to download the associated report.

SuperData First Half of 2017 Highlights

Mobile is the largest digital platform, but League of Legends on the PC remains the biggest game.  Also, they could only come up with a big number for VR by projecting forward to 2020.

NCsoft sees Lineage Slump

NCsoft financials tend to be pretty predictable.  The 1998 title Lineage will be the big earner, the further we get from an expansion release, the lower the Guild Wars 2 revenue will be, and there will be that game we’re all pretty sure is going to get shut down because it has slumped so bad that it stopped getting its own chart.

But Q2 2017 changed things up. (Report available here)

NCsoft Sale by IP – Q2 2017

Okay, sure, GW2 is tracking to form, and has an expansion on the way, and we’re still pondering the future existence of WildStar, but the change with Lineage is nothing short of shocking in the context of the company’s history.

As it turns out, the only thing that can kill Lineage is Lineage.  Lineage is tanking because NCsoft released a mobile version of the game, Lineage M, which they track under “mobile games,” a category which is suddenly number one on their list.

And with that, the majority of the company’s income still comes from a Korean audience playing a variation on a 1998 title.

 

Another Day, Another Fortizar Down in Hakonen

Last night was the return match.  After Monday’s fight another Fortizar was put down in the same spot in Hakonen.

Second Fortizar coming online

There was a Fireside chat scheduled before operations were supposed to begin, which was marred by network issues that dropped a large portion of the audience off the server.  “Something, something, fleets will be going up…” was about all I got.

Fleets did go up.  There was a ping for two Typhoon fleets and a Jackdaw fleet as well as a call for capital ships to be ready.  And there were a few special fleets forming up, including another small ECM Burst fleet, which I joined.

We were in the same Atrons with the same plan.  Since the Fortizar had been dropped in the same position as the previous one, our perch bookmarks were all still viable as well, though I went out beforehand and burned out to make a few more.

We formed up, Atrons were handed out to the people who hadn’t been on the Monday op, and went over the “how to” of the fleet.

It looked like our bookmarks might be troublesome.  The new ones I burned were a little closer in than the originals and there was a gang of five Raptors zipping around the area, not too far from one of my perches.  They got close enough to another pilot in our fleet to decloak and blow him up.  As they edged towards me I weighed the option of decloaking and warping off versus just sitting tight.  I chose the latter, which turned out okay.

The timer was counting down on the Fortizar, our fleets were undocking, and the enemy subcap fleets started landing on grid.  There looked to be two Machariel fleets and an Abaddon fleet, supported by Apostles.  Once on grid they lit a cyno and more Apostles jumped in along with a fleet of super carriers with four titans for support.  The arrival of these fleets and their supporting ships drove the roving third parties off and my perch was never in peril after that.

As the timer hit zero there were about 2,600 people in system and the time dilation was very light.  And then everybody, launched fighters, dropped drones, or otherwise opened fire and tidi quickly got down to 10%.

Opening the fight around the fort

Our little ECM Burst contingent did not have as much to do this time around.  The battleship fleets ended up a toe-to-toe slugging match, running smart bombs to clear drones and fighters.  In this situation we had to take care where we dropped lest we end up annoying our side as much as our foes.

So there were runs on the periphery and runs where we had to warp off without running our busts.  We tagged a few people, though some runs were pretty minimal in effect.

Two from my own fleet

The outcome of the Fortizar itself did not seem at all in doubt.  The repair timer was paused by damage just seven seconds into its fifteen minute count down and stayed fixed at that point throughout the fight.

Repair timer paused

So for a while I was mostly sitting on a perch, cloaked up, and able to watch the fight unfold.  Not a bad view.

TEST showed up again with their Nightmare fleet and joined in shooting NCDot, PL, and their assorted allies.  There was a sore temptation to take a shot at one of the Nightmares in the fleet, but we focused on the enemy at hand, leaving other scores to be settled later.

Its like a friend coming to your party with your ex

Then somebody noticed a couple of enemy super carriers warping off in somewhat random directions.  In a battle like this there are always lots of disconnects, and when you get disconnected your ship automatically warps off to a distant spot in space.  However, the ship is still in the game and can be probed down.  Azure and Argent, our FC, had us change fitting to add a warp scrambler and set us off to join in hunting these missing super carriers.

The first was a Nyx.  A Broadsword heavy interdictor had landed on it already and started to tackle it.

Broadsword and the Nyx

He then lit off a cyno and soon some friendly dreadnoughts started landing on grid with the Nyx.  The pilot had reconnected by then and was trying to get himself turned about and back to the relative safety of his fleet.  However, the dreadnoughts neuted out his capacitor as they oped their attack on him.

Nags on grid taking down the Nyx

I managed to get in close enough to get in a few hits… and take a few hits from the smartbomb the Nyx was running… so was on the kill mail.

We went after a second Nyx, but it was down before I arrived on scene, while a third Nyx just managed enter warp to escape as dreadnoughts were landing on it.

That seemed to be about the extent of the disconnect super kills to be had and we headed back to refit and then went to our perches to join back in the main fight.

The situation had changed some since we left.  While the Fortizar still seemed as unlikely to survive as ever, TEST had dropped a ball of dreadnoughts on grid at range to try to long distance volley faxes and super carriers.  Thi caused NCDot and PL to cyno in titans, who turned their doomsday weapons on the dreadnoughts.  The big guns were out and anybody who had not previously seen a doomsday in action got their chance as they shot dread after dread.  TEST ended up sustaining a third of the losses on our side of the battle, about 94 billion ISK, due to dreads being popped.

We only made one more run in to fire our ECM Burst projectors before we were told we could dock up.  I stayed on grid, cloaked up again at one of my perches, so see the Fort explode.  It had been a long fight for a week night, passing the three hour mark, and people were clearly ready to be done.  The hostiles were jumping out of the system even as explosions began to erupt on the doomed citadel.

Flames begin to appear on the Fortizar

The battle itself had about the same exchange rate as Monday night, favoring the foes in about a 70/30 split.  However, looking at the battle report, the total destruction was much greater, with almost three times the ISK destroyed, though only about 300 more ships were blown up.  Throwing in dreads and killing some super carriers no doubt added to the growing ISK total.

Battle report header

There also were not as many random third parties showing up.  The alliance list on Monday was much longer.

And so the battle was over.  I somehow missed getting a PAP link, but I imagine that I will get enough while we’re deployed to not sorely miss one.

The post-battle bit of “story time” where we head a bit about what happened indicated that we had dropped small citadels in Tribute set to come out at the same time as the Fortizar, so the enemy would have to choose.  They chose to kill the Fort, which would have been a major strategic asset to us, but now we have places to hole up in the middle of their territory, places where fleets can linger and dreadnoughts can safe up and wait to drop on targets.

Now we’re building replacements for many of the hulls we lost thanks to the Raitaru and Abzel we have in Hakonen, while the Jita market is booming because of the resupply efforts of both sides.  Now would be a very lucrative time to have a researched Tyhpoon BPO.

That is my own limited view of the battle.  Other reports I have seen so far:

And, of course, sitting on a perch, watching the fight, means I have plenty of screen shots.  We shall see when round three comes up.

Blogger Fantasy Movie League – Week Ten

The tenth of thirteen weekends has now passed for our Fantasy Movie League.

The time of the summer blockbusters has clearly passed and the time of opening weekends vaulting past the $50 million mark is in the rear view mirror.  And so we had to make do with these choices for the tenth weekend.

The Dark Tower          $343
 Dunkirk                $201
 Girls Trip             $176
 The Emoji Movie        $171
 Detroit                $167
 Atomic Blonde          $127
 Spider-Man             $100
 Planet of the Apes     $70
 Kidnap                 $63
 Despicable Me 3        $62
 Valerian               $38
 Baby Driver            $33
 Wonder Woman           $32
 The Big Sick           $27
 An Inconvenient Sequel $13

Gone as well are the titles priced such that you can only pick a single screen.

The weekend saw four new titles make it onto the list of choices, and each had something to speak against it being a break-out performer.  The Dark Tower is a 90-minute version of a Stephen King book… I think it takes more than 90 minutes to read the preface in his books… that declined to give early access for critics, never a good sign.

Then there was Kidnap with Halle Berry that had been lingering in production for a couple of years and also avoided the critics before its premier.

Detroit was critically acclaimed, but isn’t the sort of escapist topic that gets a huge audience.

And then Al Gore was back with An Inconvenient Sequel slipping in at the bottom of the list.  Do I have to explain the narrow demographic that will go watch his presentation?  Well, let me add that it was only showing on 180 screens in the US as well.

Given that, my preference was to eschew all of the new titles on the list and to build up a selection out of past performers.  To this end I anchored my selection with four screens of Dunkirk, followed by one screen of Spider-Man, wrapped up with three screens of Wonder Woman.

Week 10 Picks

This turned out to not be a horrible selection.  It certainly avoided the catastrophic returns of my Atomic Blonde strategy in week nine.

In fact, it was good enough to put me back in my perennial second place position for the week.

  1. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes – $105,146,663
  2. Wilhelm’s Clockwork Lemon Multiplex – $84,245,964
  3. Void’s Awesomeplex – $78,549,186
  4. Moderate Peril’s Sleazy Porno Theatre – $71,670,435
  5. Braxwolf’s Waffleplex – $70,916,256
  6. Pasduil’s Popcorn Picturehouse – $70,462,720
  7. Syl’s Fantasy Galore Panopticum – $62,380,206
  8. Bel’s House of Horrors – $61,262,837
  9. Ocho’s Octoplex – $61,155,377
  10. Murf’s Matinee Mania – $45,707,946

However, the path to winning was not compatible with avoiding the week’s new titles.  Specifically, Kidnap outperformed the modest expectations set for it.  It earned $10 million at the box office, to which one could add another $2 million for being the best price/performance title for week ten.

So the week’s perfect pick was three screens of Dunkirk and five screens of Kidnap, which 959 players managed to correctly select.

Week 10 Perfect Pick

Liore did not get the perfect pick this week, but she came close.  She had two screens of Spider-Man taking up valuable space that could have gone to Kidnap.  Still, that was enough for her to pick up her seventh weekly win so far this season, and by a fair margin too.

Further down the list, Void joined me in going with four screens of Dunkirk and was suitably rewarded.  After that the next six anchored on The Dark Tower, which under performed.  And then there is Murf who went as deep as he could on Detroit, putting it on five screens.

That leaves the season scores after week ten as:

  1. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes – $1,094,030,554
  2. Wilhelm’s Clockwork Lemon Multiplex – $1,007,563,022
  3. Ocho’s Octoplex – $924,848,021
  4. Void’s Awesomeplex – $908,111,101
  5. Moderate Peril’s Sleazy Porno Theatre – $885,170,836
  6. Pasduil’s Popcorn Picturehouse – $870,153,787
  7. Braxwolf’s Waffleplex – $848,816,786
  8. Murf’s Matinee Mania – $818,197,041
  9. Syl’s Fantasy Galore Panopticum – $787,215,542
  10. Bel’s House of Horrors – $772,304,000

Liore opened up the gap even further, sitting $86 million out in front of me, while Ocho’s picks let me pull further ahead of him.  However, the ordering did not change from last week, people just got a little more spread out.  There could be some low-to-mid-pack changes of position in the last few weeks, but I think we can already see who will win. (And who will come in second and likely third place.)

That leaves us looking at Week Eleven’s line up.

Annabelle Creation $380
The Nut Job 2      $176
Dunkirk            $143
The Dark Tower     $106
Girls Trip         $89
The Emoji Movie    $77
Spider-Man         $75
Kidnap             $72
Detroit            $56
Atomic Blonde      $54
The Glass Castle   $52
Despicable Me 3    $44
Planet of the Apes $43
Baby Driver        $21
Wonder Woman       $20

I really don’t have much to say.  Annabelle Creation, The Nut Job, and The Glass Castle join the list, but I don’t know anything about any of them.  The end of summer is nigh and we’re getting to the dregs of the season.

Fortizar Down in Hakonen

The flip side of your staging system allowing you to jump into hostile space is that your enemy can easily return the favor and jump into your staging.

One of our goals is to get a Fortizar up in Hakonen to stage out of.  That would free us from a station undock that can be camped and let us set up our own market, free from people screwing with contracts and such. (The latter has happened to me.)

So a Fortizar, along with a few more Astrahus citadels, was anchored and set to come online at 02:00 UTC.

Fortizar waiting for 02:00

A fight was clearly expected and early pings went out advising people to have their doctrine ships ready and to be logged on by 01:30.  The enemy would not want us able to set up in the comforts of a large citadel.

This time around though I did not go with the Typhoons or the Hurricanes.  Asher had a special small fleet setup for some of the Reavers.  We would be going to battle in the lowly Gallente Atron frigate.

My Atron with the YC119 Yoiul skin

Fit with ECM burst modules, our job was to sit on a perch cloaked up and, when called for, decloak and warp into the midst of the enemy.  At that point we were to set off our over-heated ECM busts, breaking the target locks of the ships around us, and then warp off to our perches again to cloak up and wait for the next call.

We got out early and set up perches and cloaked up, waiting for things to start happening.  That gave me a bird’s eye view of the battlefield.  I saw our Typhoons and carriers undocking as well as the hostile battleships, carriers, and super carriers arriving on grid.

And then the timer ticked down to zero and the fight was on for sure, with the hostiles pausing the timer almost immediately.

Timer paused

The goal for our side was to keep the enemy off the Fortizar long enough for that timer to run down to zero.  At that point the Fortizar would be online, could be manned and equipped with defenses, and killing it would require the dread three cycles of attacks.

The enemy’s goal was to apply enough damage to pause the timer and then burn the structure down.  That would allow them to blow it up right then and there, no need for any return trips.

The fight itself did not go our way.  In a clash of carriers versus carriers and super carriers, the enemy was able to clear our fighters from space, leaving our carriers defanged and unable to assist the fight further.  Then the blows began to rain down on our Typhoon fleet.  Fighters chew up sub caps, so losses started to mount.  Our side was able to re-ship, but more people kept piling into the system, with the peak number in local exceeding 2,700 pilots, which also meant time dilation kicking in hard.

Local plus the expected tidi

The tidi seems a bit worse than usual, though fights in low sec space add a layer of complexity.  In null sec nobody cares who you shoot, but in low sec it has to account for your initiating aggression and modify your security status and set a suspect timer along with the usual combat timer.  (Imperium Logi King Arrendis is making the case to turn some of that off when tidi hits.)

I ended up with my client crashing twice during the fight, though I suspect that was more from memory usage than anything else.  Task Manager showed the client trying to load more and more RAM until it couldn’t address any more.  This is where having a 64-bit client would help.

Turning off some of the graphics features seemed to sate the clients need for RAM, and once I did that I was stable.  I didn’t go into full potato mode, but I turned off trails and drones and launcher effects and a couple other items.

As the battle ranged we started making our runs into the thick of things.  With each run you get a count of the number of people you aggressed.  We called these numbers out in fleet, with the range being anywhere from a dozen to over 150 hit with our ECM bursts.

I hit 72 on this run

That was an easy way to whore on kill mails.  You just have to get a hit on somebody with your area effect and you get counted on the list if they get killed.  It is also a handy way to burn through your security status.  Initiating aggression on low sec causes a reduction in that number for each person engaged, so I managed to go from a 4.8 security status to 1.1.

I ended up getting on a lot of kill mails, but a good portion of them were allies, this was in part because the fleets were close, but also because our side was dying in greater numbers.  We were losing a lot of Typhoons for each Machariel brought down.  With the carriers no longer of use and no supercaps of our own to call upon, after about two hours of slogging through tidi we were told to break off the fight and dock up.  The Fortizar was left to its fate and blown up shortly thereafter.

The battle report tells the tale.  While we got in some blows, we lost a lot more.

Battle Report Header for Hakonen

If you go down the list on our side you will see a number of people counted twice because they reshipped in system and rejoined the fight.  TEST is also counted on our side as they showed up with a Nightmare fleet to join in on the fight.

So the first shot at putting up a Fortizar failed.  Word is that the combat commanders are working on changes to the battle plan for the next run.

So far the only write ups about the battle I have seen:

Meanwhile, sitting on a perch and occasionally diving into the fray means I have some screen shots which still look pretty nice even with some of the effects turned off.

 

An Exchange of Threatening Looks in Tribute

All right, I tell you.
Monday we watch-a Firefly’s house, but he no come out. He wasn’t home.
Tuesday we go to the ball game, but he fool us: he no show up.
Wednesday he go to the ball game, but we fool him, we no show up.
Thursday it was a double-header, nobody show up.
Friday it rained all day, there was no ball game, so we stayed home, we listen to it over the radio.

-Chicolini, Duck Soup

As expected, after reinforcing two Sotiyos on Saturday there was an op announced to have another run at them on Sunday.  When the ping went out the population of local in Hakonen swelled past 1,600 as we all sought a slot on one of the four fleets announced.

Initially the call was for two Typhoon fleets, one Hurricane fleet, and a Jackdaw fleet.  They Typhoon fleets filled up quickly and in less than 30 seconds the adverts were down for them to leave a few slots for boosters or additional logi.  I was already online and found the first Typhoon fleet full so had to get into the second fleet under Corbzilla before it closed its doors.

The core elements of each fleet had been in place for a while… I saw the logi anchors being sorted out on Jabber well in advance… so we did not hang about in our hangars very long before the call to undock came and a mass of Typhoons spewed out of the station.

So many Typhoons… not enough skins

Our warp off to the waiting titan was less that perfect.  The POS shield was between us and our ride so we ended up way around the sphere and ended up having to warp off to the sun in order to aim for the right spot.  And so we got a close up look at the orange star of Hakonen.

Typhoons at the sun

The new star effects remain a joy to look at.  The intense color of each star and the roiling plasma surface.   Plus the way it reflects on ships close to the corona…

Typhoons in a misty orange dawn

From the sun we were able to warp back to the POS and take up station near the titan that would be sending us, and the other Typhoon fleet into Tribute.

The POS that sends people places

We’re the tight ball of Typhoons in the lower right, with the other Typhoon fleet spread out in the usual “keep at range” pattern.  If you click on the screen shot and view it full size you can see the dots of other fleets getting in range of titans.

Rather than sitting in hangars it turned out we were going to sit on titans for a while.  Some waiting was good as it turned out the template fit for the Typhoon in the fleet MOTD was wrong, so people had to warp back to station to change up.  This has happened a few times since we have deployed, where the fit is wrong, or gets changed, or includes modules the FC happened to have but which are not on the list of refits line members are supposed to carry according to the doctrine.

So there was a lot of that going on.  Meanwhile, Corbzilla clicked in space or something and flew in and out of the POS shield a couple of times, which was mildly annoying.  Logi is supposed to keep their capacitor chain up at all times, just in case.  So we were motoring around with the chain running.  But the moment somebody enters the POS shield they can no longer target or bet targeted, so the chain breaks.  If you’re zoomed out you might not know why until you try to reconnect and get the error message about the shields.  Also, if you aren’t in the GSF alliance, you can’t go into the shields without a password… and nobody is giving out the password for the POS holding our titans… so people like me end up bouncing off the shield as the fleet sails in.

Corbzilla was busy in command coms however, so we just had to deal with this minor annoyance ourselves until he got us all together outside the POS again just in time to see the first Typhoon fleet bridge out.  It was our turn to get in range of the titan, which some people did with such vigor that they bumped it, much to the annoyance of Jay Amazingness.  Due to how the titan model works, bumping the Leviathan and making it spin actually moved it closer to me.  The mysteries of New Eden.

Anyway, the bridge went up for us and we jumped into V0DF-2, the system adjoining MJI3-8, where the first Sotiyo to enter its repair cycle lay.

There we joined three other fleets in forming up around the gate to MJI3-8 and waited.

Sitting around the MJI3-8 gate

That screen shot is another one of those “need to click on it to be able to see any details” additions.  You can see the two Typhoon fleets and the Hurricane fleet because the capacitor chains, the yellow/gold lines, are visible around the gate.  The Jackdaw fleet was on the gate itself, in the middle of the yellow hexagon in the center of the picture, which is their booster cycling.

The four fleets, at about 250 pilots per fleet, sat there in space, watching the gate… and disconnecting every so often.  Disconnects and people needing to get back into already full fleets has been an issue that has plagued us since we landed in Hakonen.  I don’t think CCP was quite ready for our influx into the area.  Still, we had a over a thousand ships milling about, plus an additional Jackdaw fleet somewhere else and a fleet of dreadnoughts ready to cyno in should they be needed.

The situation in system

Meanwhile, on the far side of the gate PL and NCDot were waiting for us, with over 1,200 ships of their own ready to go.  While I didn’t see how they were arranged, I have to imagine it was pretty much the same thing as the day before when they blockaded the gate in PBD-0G with bubbles and titans and all sorts of other ships.

Something like this

A directional scan showed the ships undocked and on hand waiting for us.  I am not sure how long those dscan links stay active, but this is the summary listing:

Waiting for us in MJI3-8

The “by ship” break out showed that the 1,237 ships included 265 Machariels, 156 Cerberuses, 111 Abaddons, to back up the 107 titans, 127 super carriers, and 122 force auxiliaries.

A formidable force.  Pretty much a death trap for us, had we chosen to go through the gate.

Not wishing to feed them easy kills or give their titan pilots a chance to use their fancy fun sub cap slaughtering area doomsday weapons,  we did not go through the gate.  So we hung out one system over and they won the objective.  We flew back to our staging and that was the end of that.

This led to the usual narrative posturing on Reddit.  Goons are bad because we wouldn’t walk into their pre-planned murder box and NC/PL clearly didn’t want to fight because if they did all they had to do is take a gate, leaving their Satiyo unguarded.  But if the sides were swapped I doubt the results would have been different.  Each side did what was in their best interest.  We’ll see which side gets tired of forming up.

Meanwhile, over in PBD-0G, NCDot started taking down the Sotiyo there to move it elsewhere no doubt.  It certainly wasn’t going to be producing any supers because, as I understand it, you have to configure the ihub in the system to allow that, which requires that you own the ihub, a situation we managed to change.

The situation in PBD-0G August 7, 2017

The station is now a freeport so I can go and get that stack of liquid ozone I left behind last year.

And so it goes, with us continuing to set timers.  NCDot was recently doing the same thing to us down south from their staging in Gehi, reinforcing structures and not showing up for the timer, so their protestations on Reddit might sound a bit hollow.  Of course, they decided to show up for a timer down in Delve, assuming we were all up in Hakonen, and it cost them a few Lokis.

On the propaganda front, a Star Wars inspired “The Imperium Strikes Back” theme seems to be taking hold, buoyed by this excellent piece from Prog:

Asher gets a starring role at last

The highlight for many is the TEST dino stand-in for a tauntaun and the morale Rorqual.

We’ve now been through the first weekend of the deployment and are into the weekdays where huge form ups are less likely.  Maybe I will find some time to play LOTRO.