Category Archives: EVE Online

New Skill Injectors for Those on an ISK or Skill Point Budget

In addition to the announcement earlier about new PLEX being paid out to those remaining holders of Aurum, today also brings a new type of skill injector to New Eden.

With today’s update (I’m a bit surprised CCP didn’t hold this for the YC119.6 update, but sometimes you undock as soon as you’re ready to go I guess) there will be two flavors of skill injectors/extractors on the market.

Things capsuleers do to themselves…

The previously existing injectors, which hold 500,000 skill points will now be prefaced with the word “Large,” while a new set of injectors/extractors will be available today with the word “Small” up front.  These new small units will work pretty much the same as the old injectors, they will just do so in increments of 100,000 skill points.

As with the original extractors the amount of skill points delivered will depend on how many skill points your character already has.

For Small injectors:

  • For characters with less than 5mil SP:  100k SP
  • For characters with 5mil – 50mil SP:  80k SP
  • For characters with 50mil – 80mil SP:   60k SP
  • For characters with more than 80mil SP:   30k SP

For Large injectors:

  • For characters with less than 5mil SP:  500k SP
  • For characters with 5mil – 50mil SP:  400k SP
  • For characters with 50mil – 80mil SP:   300k SP
  • For characters with more than 80mil SP:   150k SP

Of course, skill injectors have been around for a while.  They went in with the YC118.2 update on Mardi Gras last year and there was immediate activity. as well as the usual comedy and abuse and commentary in the community.  At Fanfest this year CCP gave us a peek at how popular the skill trading, as they refer to it, really was.

Skill trading stats as of Fanfest 2017

There is something telling in those most extracted/injected skills.

For me, with the characters I use well over 80 million skill points, injectors seem like a waste of ISK.  I continue to skill up the old fashioned way, by simply waiting.  But I have an alt who, when he isn’t training a skill he needs, just trains up skill points to extract, something that has provided a decent income.  I sold an injector in Jita on Sunday for 740 million ISK which, less the price of the extractor (I bought a pile of those when there was a bit of a glut on the market) netted me some spending money for other things.

Now we will have both large and small injectors on the market.  Price wise, large injectors should be five times the price of small injectors, so small injectors ought to show up somewhere between 140 and 150 million ISK, if the price of large injectors holds stable.

But will there be demand for smaller injectors?  All things equal, one large is the same as five small and the prices should be locked together by the 5 to 1 ratio in Jita.  However, markets are not always logical, at least not in the short term.   If 100K skill points isn’t as desirable as 500K, will the new injectors end up being a drag on the price?  We shall see as time rolls on.

CCP to Pay Out Remaining PLEX for Aurum

CCP announced earlier that after downtime today those who had less than 1,000 Aurum when New PLEX went live back on May 9th would be getting the PLEX owed them.

The New PLEX in New Eden

You can find the announcement here, but it is short enough to quote:

We are happy to announce that all pilots who had Aurum balances outstanding from the PLEX changes have now had their converted PLEX balances delivered as of downtime May 23rd.

In order to protect the market and value of PLEX during the transition, all pilots who had less than 1000 Aurum in their wallets did not have this converted to PLEX when the changes were deployed on May 9th, and were notified that they would receive their Aurum balance in PLEX three months after the deployment of the PLEX changes.

After careful consideration and close monitoring of the market, we have decided to reimburse these PLEX earlier.

Today’s daily downtime was extended slightly in order to allow for a reimbursement script to be run, and all pilots should now have their outstanding PLEX balances reimbursed.

As it turned out, the market did not need much in the way of protection.  The price of 500 new PLEX (needed for the 30 days of game time that a single old PLEX would grant) went up after the conversion and has remained up.  This wasn’t all that surprising to me.  It seemed akin to a 500 for 1 stock split, and the price of a stock almost always goes up after such a change. (If it doesn’t, you shouldn’t have done the split.)  And new PLEX can be used for more things (even if character transfers are no longer on the list) so more demand, and an accompanying rise is price, seemed likely.

That means ISK is effectively cheaper if you want to sell PLEX.  If you are buying PLEX to pay for your null sec Rorqual mining alts in the face of nerfs and low mineral prices however, this might be a painful time.  I will be interested to see what the monthly economic report for May and June will show.

Anyway, I will have to check in and see if I have 42 more PLEX on the accounts that had the 300 gift PLEX.

The Blood Raiders Shipyard Destroyed

There was a chance that I might see the Blood Raiders Shipyard destroyed.  After it was hit, the timer was set locking in when the final assault would come.  I was working from home and the timing was such that it ought to have come out of its reinforcement cycle at just about the time my day was done. I still had my alt parked in the system and the shipyard was sitting there waiting.

Eyeballing the Sotiyo in my Buzzard

As a toiled away I saw the pings come up for the fleets destined for the final event.  There appeared to plenty of interest as a second fleet had to be formed.  As the timer approached I logged in and warped out to a spot I had setup about 600km off the structure so I could see how this was all going to turn out.  I started a long, lazy orbit as the fleet of Punishers showed up and spread around the their target.

Ball of Punishers around the shipyard

A second fleet was watching gates while a fleet of TEST interceptors showed up in system as well and setup on a perch from which they could warp in and take pot shots at the Punisher fleet.

Once the time counted down the Punisher fleet opened up and started plinking the target.

A Punisher blazing away

As before, Blood Raider ships spawned, but they seemed at a loss when faced with the tiny T1 frigates motoring along in orbits around the shipyard.  CCP did not update anything for this particular run.

A Blood Raiders Omen just loafing about, not even trying…

The only real hazard for the fleet came from the TEST Interceptors who would warp in to try and pick off a target every so often.  They were successful, but Jay had stocked ships in the local station so people were able to warp off, reship, and rejoin the attack.  I planned to join in the assault as well, once the structure went down far enough.  I had scrounged a light missile launcher and some missiles locally so I could get in and plink it.

However, at about that point I had to leave for a bit.  I was on the hook to pick my daughter up after school and drive her downtown, something complicated by the advent of early onset Friday afternoon rush hour traffic.  It took more than an hour to get her, drop her off downtown, and get back home, by which time the event was over and most everybody had gone home. (I did see SynCaine in local for a minute or so after I got back.)

I had warped in to launch a couple of missiles at the shipyard before cloaking up in a safe spot and head out, but my shot was too early and I did not even get on the kill mail for the structure.

I also missed the comedy finale, detailed over at INN, where TEST pilot named Karl Kox zipped to the structure wreck in a Claw interceptor and scooped up blue print copies for the Chemosh dreadnought and Molok titan, only to be blown up.  With his ship went the Chemosh blue print, but the Molok surivived and was picked up by Hudders, another TEST pilot in a Claw who was also blown up in short order.  With him went the Molok blue print, and so the drops from the event went *poof* just like that.

And so it goes in New Eden.

So there I was on grid where the Blood Raiders Shipyard had been, cloaked up and looking around.  A fair number of Blood Raider ships were still roaming around rather aimlessly.  I saw a fleet of Blood Raider Augoror cruisers looping and turning and making patterns in search of a purpose.

Augoror fleet does a star burst, just to form up again

I watched the ships move about, then switch to the overview that showed wrecks on the field.  Loot looked to be fairly readily available, with an unlooted Jackdaw wreck visible to me.  I warped over to it, motored into range and found some light missiles on it.  I took those and then started to head over to some wrecks a ways away.  As I drew into range I suddenly got the CAPSULE EJECTING message as the Buzzard blew to bits around me.  A Blood Raiders Chemosh dreadnought had locked me up and one-shotted me.

These things are a menace to the space lanes

That was why there was still loot on grid; grabbing it was a hazard.  I bookmarked my wreck and warped to the station.  On docking I was given one standard issue Ibis corvette, the rookie ship you are handed by the game when you have no ship.  I decided to warp back out and see if I could quickly scoop up some of the items that dropped.  The Sisters expanded probe launcher and the covert ops cloak were worth some ISK, so there was no point leaving them sitting on grid.

I warped out the wreck and then ended up sitting there because I couldn’t fit all of the stuff from the wreck into the cargo hold of the Ibis.  I ejected one item, but as I sat there deciding I was once again blown up by the Chemosh.

An Ibis in the act of exploding

That lost me the probe launcher and some of the probes, but there was still the cloak to be had, and an Ibis is free, so I warped off in my pod for the station and shipped back up in an Ibis.  Then I warped back out to the now increasing pile of wrecks.  This time I laded a bit too far off the spot, but even as I got there to loot the Chemosh popped me again.

That thing must be doing pretty well to hit an Ibis so quickly.

Fortunately the loot fairy was kind to me and I only lost a couple of probes and that single unit of tritanium in the explosion.  The covert ops cloak and the coprocessor II were both still there waiting for me.  So I grabbed another Ibis, warped out, landed right on top of the wreck, looted quickly, and aligned to warp off.  Even as I was moving, the Chemosh took a shot at me.  This time he missed though.

Ibis gets past the beam of death

I was able to warp off safely.  I made it to the gate and through and back up into Delve without incident.  The event had been over for long enough for any hostile gate camps to have either given up or been driven off.

Anyway, that was my own little side adventure.  Soon the search will begin for the next incarnation of the Blood Raiders Shipyard.  Maybe a blue print will survive through the next event.

This past weekend’s Talking in Stations broadcast has some time devoted to the event and includes Imperium FC Apple Pear talking about what happened and how the Punisher plan came into being if you are interested in that.

Addendum: The Blood Raiders leader Omir Sarikusa issues a defiant statement after the loss of the shipyard.

A Return to Form Reinforces the Blood Raiders Shipyard

The battle station is heavily shielded and carries a firepower greater than half the star fleet. Its defenses are designed around a direct, large-scale assault. A small one-man fighter should be able to penetrate the outer defense.

General Dodonna, Star Wars Episode IV

The mythos of the early days of Goonswarm and the Great War in New Eden is centered on how Goons opted to fight by flying masses of cheap, T1 frigates into battle, heedless of losses or killboard stats, with an aim to choke the guns on their foes with their wrecks.  This set them apart from Band of Brothers, which flew expensive fits and valued their green killboard.

The image of a Goon in his Rifter became almost iconic.

Back in the day…

Things have changed.  Not quickly… even back in late 2011 when I joined the then CFC the idea of a main fleet doctrine featuring anything besides T1 ships was crazy talk… but inevitably fits and doctrines got more expensive.  Two of the main fleet doctrines are Machariels, faction battleships, and T3 strategic cruisers.  There are always fits in each doctrine for new players, but you might be flying tackle, a target painter, or an ECM frigate fit.  Vital to each fleet, but not the big shiny ships that make up the power of each doctrine.

So there was an extra special dimension to the win when the the Imperium reinforced the first ever Blood Raiders Shipyard down in Period Basis.

After trying capitals, supercaps, and battleships on the test server, the doctrine for the first full on reinforcement effort was based on T1 frigates with newbie friendly fits.  The lowly, unloved Amarr Punisher formed the backbone of the operation, with a fit that ran just over a 1.3 million ISK.  The Blood Raiders were assaulted in the spirit of the Great War, by a mass of cheap ships.

Not as iconic as a Rifter, but an old work horse

This, of course, made some people lose their heads as this fine thread on Reddit shows.  But others cheered the fact that EVE Online is still a place where the stuff you are able to fit in the first week can be used in a high end event.

Unlike the old days however, there was no needed to choke the guns of the foe with wrecks.  Instead, the Blood Raiders seemed as impotent in defending their Soityo as the Empire was in defending the Death Star.  Rather than a mass of wrecks, there were only a few losses.  As the shields went down, the Blood Raiders called in more and more ships, but to almost no effect.

The full tale of the event is covered by Moomin’s post over at INN.

This all happened while I was at work, but when I got home I logged in my alt, which I had left in system and saw that the shipyard was counting down its reinforcement timer.

Less than a day to go

There were still some Blood Raider ships bouncing around the structure, but otherwise the field was clear and the system mostly empty.

Unlike player own citadels, the Blood Raiders structure has only the one timer event.  When that is done counting down, the structure will be vulnerable to destruction.

Of course, a replay of yesterday might not be possible.

To start with, news of the event has gone far and wide and the general timing is known, so other fleets may show up to either interfere with the second battle or to fight over whatever drops from the shipyard when it is destroyed.

And then there is CCP.  As you will note if you read through CCP Fozzie’s Twitter thread, CCP was watching this event closely.  With an intervening downtime, it is possible they may have tweaked the defenses of the shipyard to better respond to the T1 frigate menace.

We will only know for sure a few hours after this post goes live.

Addendum:

The Scope has a video up about the current state of the Blood Raiders shipyard.

A Short Lived Cerberus and a Sabre

Asher has brought the Reavers out on a new deployment, one where we will be working out of a familiar station in Reavers history.

Having a station, rather than living out of mobile depots in safe spots as we did in Impass, means having the option to field multiple doctrines during the deployment.

I barely made it into the deployment fleet and did not have time to arrange to have somebody carry a ship for me in a capital ship.  I just grabbed one of the doctrine ships I had handy and undocked to catch up with the fleet, which was already on the move.  I made it, but I I was locked into the single doctrine.

Fortunately, from where we are staging, it is possible to fly a ship out without an undue amount of risk.  Returning to an old stomping ground means that perches and safe spots are bookmarked already, making the journey more viable.  I jump cloned back and empty clone I hold in Jita, bought and fit a Cerberus, and flew it on out to our staging system.

Bright red Cerb headed into harms way…

The route through high sec was easy enough, but I waited until the evening had turned into night and the online user count had dropped down before heading into low sec and then null sec and the end of my journey.  I had arrived, safely docked up, and logged off when Asher sent out a ping for a Reavers fleet.

The doctrine called for was the first ship I flew out.  That doctrine requires implants and, having just cloned jumped a few hours earlier, I could not jump back into that clone in time for the fleet.  I remained logged off and started tinkering with Minecraft.  I noticed after a bit that another ping had gone out and that the doctrine had been changed to the Cerberus fleet.  I logged back in, got on coms, and joined the fleet.

The fleet was already undocked and in combat, following Asher around and kiting the enemy in his usual fashion.  The problem for me was being able to warp in and join up.  The Cerb doctrine is built to move fast, so warping carries risk.  By the time one comes out of warp the fleet will have moved quite some ways.  When you warp, you go to the point your target was at that moment.

So I tried warping in, found myself way off from both friend and foe, then warped off to a safe.  I did this a few times when Asher cleared people to try and warp in, however on my fourth attempt I managed to land right in the midst of the enemy fleet, also flying Cerbs, and was pointed before I could warp off again.  My brand new Cerberus exploded before I could even overheat my hardener.  I owned it for barely three hours total.

Loss keeps the New Eden economy thriving.

I was able to warp out in my pod and dock up, but that left me out of the fight.  The only other ship I had was not appropriate for what we were doing, so I was sitting in my pod in one of the stations listening to the fight continue.

There were additional losses and Asher eventually rounded everybody up and docked to asses how things stood.  We posted our losses in fleet and Asher tried to sort out getting people re-shipped.  I didn’t have anything else I could fly… and couldn’t get in the clone for the ship anyway, once you have clone swapping in citadels you start to miss it in stations… so he asked who had something for me.  There wasn’t a spare Cerb or logi to be had, but old school Reaver Norrec Lafisques had a Sabre sitting his hangar.

I was asked if I could fly it and said that of course I could.  And it was true, I had trained up the skills for all things interdictor related ages ago.  So Norrec traded me the ship and I threw some money at him hoping that it was enough in case I lost it, got in the Sabre and prepared to undock.

Of course, the question nobody asked was whether or not I knew what to do with a Sabre, or any other interdictor, once I was strapped in.  I had trained up the skills, but I had never actually flown one.  Interdictors are ships that require some individual skill and initiative.  They are tech II destroyers that can put up warp disruption bubbles, an action that can save the day when done at the right moment or get us in deep shit done at the wrong.  I’ve watched some masters of the art in Reavers use them to great effect, so I felt a little bit of pressure not to screw up.

Still, hostiles were in system, we were set to undock, so I figured one more ship even ineptly handled would be better than no ship at all, so long as I didn’t screw us by bubbling.  I had the ship insured and given that interdictors are generally high priority targets I wasn’t sure I would last long in any case, so when the command came I left the station with everybody else.

And then I set about trying to figure out what buttons to press.

I was in a panic for a moment as I couldn’t find the module for bubble deployment.  I wasn’t even sure what it would look like, but knew it had to be there somewhere.  Norrec had put it at the far end of the hot keys so it was under the fleet window, the traditional place to hide modules you don’t want to set off by accident. (e.g. cynos, bomb launchers, smart bombs)

I also had a little 125mm Gatling AutoCannon to let me whore on kills… shells down range to the target get you listed even if they do not hit… as well as what I took to be a light missile launcher loaded with EM missiles.  That seemed a bit redundant until I went to use it mid-fight and found it was loaded with Defender missiles, the new hotness for destroying incoming bombs.

Meanwhile the fleet was on the move and I was going with it.

Sabre in space

There were other interdictors in the fleet, so I was pretty sure I would be the last choice when Asher was looking for somebody who knew what they were doing, but part of the job of an interdictor in the fast moving Cerb fleet is to drop bubbles regularly when told to in order to shield us from people warping in on us.

When the time came I just sort of watched to see when the other interdictors were bubbling and when there was a gap I launched by own bubble.  Nobody said anything so I am going to guess I didn’t mess that up.

Flying back around one of our bubbles

The fight itself had been a running series of engagements with a Ferox fleet and a Cerberus fleet.  Then the Feroxes moved off, only to have a Machariel fleet show up.  We moved and shot and occasionally knocked down a foe.  While the Sabre doesn’t have the range of the Cerb, a few targets fell within range so I was able to get rounds in their direction and get on the kill.

The fight had us in the next system over and we were headed back towards base when the Machs were reported on their way.  We ended up with us on one side of the gate and them on the other.  We jumped through and attempted to zip away, but a couple people got caught, including Norrec, who lost his Cerb of many kill marks due to being in a bad spot.

We zoomed around some more, though the Machs were fit for speed as well, so we couldn’t engage at will.

Just another picture of us zooming around

The battle report shows us coming out on the short end when it comes to ISK… Cerbs are not cheap… but the odds were generally against us at each step, so not getting trapped and slaughtered meant some measure of success.

After we docked up again I asked Norrec if he wanted the Sabre back, seeing as he was now down a ship as well.  But he said I had bought it, so I suppose I threw enough money at him.  Now I have a Sabre there for future use.  In the mean time though I got my alt out in Jita and bought up a few more ships and some supplies to send out to our staging.

There was some talk about getting doctrine ships up on contract out where we are staging, however they have to be alliance contracts, since people will mess with you if you’re not paying attention with public contracts.  And being one of the few people not in the main alliance, well, it might be better to have my own stuff to hand in case things are popping again and nobody has time to find something for me.  Another one of those times where I think my life might be easier if I just joined KarmaFleet.

Visiting the Blood Raiders Shipyard

As mentioned in the notes for the YC119.5 update, the Blood Raiders Shipyard is now a thing.  It is a special new PvE event… a null sec raid if you will… that has the possibility of dropping blue print copies of special Blood Raiders capital ships.

The first step in the whole thing is actually finding the shipyard.  There will only ever be one shipyard in space at a time and it will spawn somewhere in Blood Raiders territory, which spans the regions of Delve, Querious, and Period Basis.  In order to locate the shipyard you have to find one of the Blood Raider mining operations and follow ships from there back to the shipyard.

The Imperium incursion SIG went to work finding it after it was supposed to spawn, some time on Thursday, and by Friday the shipyard had been located in the system E-DOF2 in the Period Basis region.  The tale of its discovery is the subject of a post over at INN.

Having found the shipyard, there is the whole “blowing it up” aspect to master now.  As I noted in my post about the YC119.5 update, I am not sure if having the shipyard in our part of space is a blessing or a curse.  From what I heard about the trial runs on the test server, the Blood Raider reaction forces creamed every attacking force by burying it in numbers.  As noted in the story linked above, RED Alliance threw a small Rattlesnake fleet at the shipyard and promptly lost most of it.  INN had follow up posts about further attempts including a force of frigates trying to put the shipyard into reinforcement mode.

The shipyard is a special citadel and only has a single 24 hours reinforcement, which means you only have to go through two rather than three fights to kill it.  But so far nobody has has managed the first fight and it sits there in space unharmed.

Since this was something new in New Eden and not too far from home, I decided to fly down to take a look at the shipyard myself.  That meant setting a course for Period Basis and RED Alliance space.  I got out my alt, put him in his Buzzard (so he could scan down the site), and sent him south.

Headed to Period Basis

We are set blue with RED Alliance, so I didn’t have to worry about the locals shooting me.  However, with any space attraction, I did keep alert for possible gate camps on the way down.  Somebody is always looking to shoot tourists.  There were a couple of camps but, fortunately for me, they were blue.

When I arrived at the system I launched combat probes, cloaked up, and then made myself a safe spot from which to work.  For my first scans of the system I was looking for structures, but didn’t come up with any likely results.  I could have save myself some time if I had read the patch notes where it says;

They Blood Raider Sotyio does not show up on the tactical overlay, nor can it be probed down. The best way to find them is to try following a Blood Raider hauler (Bestower or Impel), coming to pick up minerals from a mining operation. There will always be a mining operation in the system with the Blood Raiders Shipyard.

I changed that to ships and found an extremely dense ball of Amarr ships, including Apocalypse and Bhaalgorn battleships.  I narrowed down my focus on that, getting 100% results pretty quickly, then warped in at 100km so I would stay cloaked.

And I landed right on the shipyard and was immediately uncloaked.

Back to my safe!

I quickly aligned back to my safe spot, bookmarked my position, and then warped back to my safe to cloak up for a return trip.  I warped back at 100km from my bookmark and landed far enough from anything that might decloak me to be safe for the moment.  My overview did not show much going on, just a few people shooting at the structure.

Initial overview…

That might have been some of the Succubus frigate fleet mentioned in the INN post.  What I did not see was any Blood Raiders on my overview.  In fact, I didn’t even see the structure, which reminded me that new things in the game often don’t get added to the overview by default.  I added the structure to my travel overview. (The pic above was after I did that.)  They I started looking around in space to see if I could see any Blood Raiders.  They were definitely out there, I could see lasers chasing the frigates around the vicinity of the shipyard.

The Shipyard with lasers

Those were dreadnoughts, which seemed to be strewn about the undock area of the shipyard.  But I knew there had to be more ships about.  I tried the default “ALL” overview that CCP provides and was pleasantly surprised to find that they had added the new ships to that.  I have, in the past, had to add things to “ALL.”  And with that I was suddenly aware of just how many Blood Raiders ships were lingering in the area.

Lots of Blood Raiders

The overview was full, with pages and pages of Blood Raiders ships.  There were dozens and dozens of ships out there.  I could see fleets of Blood Raiders ships cruising around.

A flight of Augoror cruisers orbiting the shipyard

Not many of the ships on grid seemed interested in the frigates flying about taking potshots.  In fact, so far as I could tell, only the Chemosh dreadnoughts seemed to be firing on them.  There was a gaggle of them on the undock and some more spread out around the shipyard.

Chemosh dreads on the undock

The subcaps seemed mostly interested in warping off to where every they go when they’re done with their task.  I could see the bright streaks of ships warping away every so often.  However, for every ship warping off I say what seemed to be a couple more stuck mid-warp.  There was a large number of ships either bouncing off the back of the structure or actually withing it that were bumping and bouncing and unable to enter warp.

Or such was my assumption.  I was trying to “look” at ships in space and could not do so with many of them, which is generally a sign they are trying to enter warp.  However, they stayed on the overview and I could, by maneuvering the camera around, see ships actually bouncing off the citadel or poking partially out of it.

The shipyard itself seem unperturbed by events.

Shields barely scratched… or not scratched at all really

The shipyard itself seems to be a standard Upwell Consortium Sotyio structure.  It even says so on the side.  Glad to see that Upwell will sell to anybody with ISK I guess.

Look for genuine Upwell marked structures!

The Blood Raiders opted for a spray-on logo though.  That is a special order item not available to mere capsuleers.

Blood Raiders are #01!

They also get the new logo features that came with the YC119.5 update including alliance logo and CEO portrait along with more spray on logos.

CEO Omir Sarikusa sends his regards

I was amused to see that the Blood Raiders shipyard get the same advertising screens around the undock as player deployed structures.

Waiting for “Vote for Xenuria” to go past again…

The Blood Raiders can get a special paint job and their own logos sprayed on the hull, but they cannot opt out of ads!  Anyway, I saw the big new thing in space and beat Mark726 to it no less!  He’s usually the first space tourist on the scene.

The Blood Raiders Shipyard out in Period Basis

Now to see about blowing the damn thing up.

I know some people are angry that CCP decided to try this version of their new NPC response AI in null sec.  And not just in null sec, but in the Goon corner of null sec no less!  “Grr Gons! Hat Gons!” and all that.  Why should they get the new PvE shiny?

The flip side of course is that this new shiny seems intent on destroying as many player ships as possible by dropping overwhelming forces on them.  I am not sure high sec would put up with that.  I am told that many mission runners like the predictability of rewards and that an AI intent on making things difficult might not be appreciated if that is the case.  That is ever the PvE carebear conundrum, a desire for interesting tasks mixed in with an aversion to any loss.

And who could CCP blob more ironically than the Imperium?  Blobbers blobbed  and killed by blobbing NPCs, film at 11.

Of course, that won’t sate anybody feeling left out, but I find it amusing.  And we shall see how long and how many destroyed ships it takes to destroy the first Blood Raiders Shipyard.

Astrahus Brawl in GE-8JV

Monday night a ping went out from Asher Elias noting that he would be leading a fleet Tuesday evening.  I am always happy to go on an Asher fleet so I made sure I was home and ready to go at the appointed time.  I wasn’t sure what we were up to, but I was willing to  go along for the ride.

When the ping for the fleet went out on Tuesday as expected the doctrine was Cerberuses and Caracals.  We would be spewing heavy missiles.  I had a doctrine Cerberus ready, a ship I hadn’t flown since Asher took us up to Tribute for one of the battles around Circle of Two’s Keepstar in M-OEE8.  I still had the remote sensor booster fit from that fight that was used to boost Asher’s FC ship.  I mentioned that in fleet chat and he told me (and a few other pilots) to leave the remote sensor booster fit and do the same for this fleet.

Meanwhile another ping went out for CapSwarm, of which I am also a member, calling for a dreadnought form up.  The a ping for a frigate support fleet to take off the excess pilots from the Cerb fleet as it had filled to capacity very quickly.  A fight was said to be likely and the dreads seemed to indicate that a structure might be involved.

Dreads undocking from the Keepstar

It seemed to me that we might just be shepherding the capital ships to a target, where they would do the shooting while we flew cover, swooping in at the last bit to tag the target so as to get on the kill mail.  So off we went, taking a jump bridge as the caps jumped, then it was time to spread out and cover gates and the might dreadnoughts lumbered along.

Watching Naglfars take a gate

However, once there the situation was different than I had assumed.  There has been an ongoing series of battles in the Catch region around GE-8JV and V-3YG7 between the locals, made up of Brave Newbies, TEST, CO2, Drone Walkers, and FCON and a force being led by Pandemic Legion that includes their usual host of allies from the north.  PL already has a foothold in the region so fights have been coming up nightly.  SynCaine was in one of the fights the night before.

This particular fight was over the armor timer of a Brave Newbies Astrahus in GE-8JV.  Nothing to do with us in the Imperium really.  Some locals a couple regions over trying to fight off PL who has grabbed a foothold in order to farm them for fights.

But we were not there to third party.  We were actually there to help Brave Newbies, working with them and TEST to shoot Pandemic Legion and its allies.  But it was a bit complicated.  We mostly didn’t shoot at Brave, and restrained ourselves from shooting TEST too much, but their other allies, such as CO2 and FCON, enjoyed no such prohibition on our part.  At one point during the fight an FCON Svipul fleet hove into range and we shot it up with gusto.

But mostly we shot Pandemic Legion and their friends, who were out there with Machariels and some dreads of their own.

Hostiles Machs ahoy… the target is painted

Our fleet was there to kite, moving fast into range to spew missiles but never sitting still long enough to get pinned down, Asher leading us from his Phantasm.  I even remembered to take the right drugs for the op.

Some drugs are good, mkay

The flight time bonus for Antipharmakon Toxot (part of the reason few use drugs is you cannot tell what they hell they do from the name) is for missiles, effectively giving them an extended range.  Missiles take time to move from launcher to target, but they will chase things down so long as they have the range to get to them.

The fight itself was both fast and slow.  Zooming around in the fast cruiser fleet put us all around the battle.

Cerbs and Caracals zooming through bubbles

However, there was also time dilation to deal with.  It wasn’t as bad as in some fights, but it got bad enough a couple of times that I was having problems cycling my launchers on to new targets.  They would get stuck in the red flashing cool down state and I would have to hit F1 a few times to clear them.  A side effect of that is a couple of times the next target was gone before the launchers cycled, so the missiles would launch against Asher, who I had to keep targeted to run the remote sensor booster on him.  A volley now and then barely scratched him, though if he had been blown up… and a group tried to headshot him at one point… it might have been a bit awkward to be on his kill mail.  We’re not NCDot.

As it turned out the dreadnoughts, who I thought might be playing the starring role in our effort, were merely a force in being for the fight, hanging out in the vicinity as a warning to others against escalating to supers.  They just sat and waited.

Fortunately the wait wasn’t too long.  The armor timer limited the amount of time we were going to stick around, though I honestly never saw if the Brave lost the timer or if Astrahus repaired itself and reset the whole destruction process.  At one point I saw the citadel repairing, but I didn’t see the end result.  It wasn’t ours and there wasn’t a kill mail to be had on it this fight, so I wasn’t paying close attention to that.

Our fleet did well enough.  We had a few deaths, mostly due to people falling off the anchor and flying off into space on their own due to a mis-click or not having their MWD running.  The ECM frigate fleet that went with us however got roasted.  I think the FCON Svipuls were shooting them while we were shooting the Svipuls.

There is a battle report that shows the results of the fight.  Of course, results are in the eye of the beholder.  That report is laid out from our point of view, with green being us, red being the people we were trying not to shoot, and blue being those we shot early and often.

GE- Battle Report, Imperium Perspective

If you were one of the locals, you might sort the columns in a different way.  My only regret was that I did not divert off course long enough to get on Dirk MacGirk’s kill mail, though looking down the list I see at least one of the pilots in our fleet took that route.  It is always just a bit more fun to get on the kills of the space famous.

But once the object was complete… for somebody… it was time for us to rally up and then escort the dreads back home.

Cerb fleet together

That was slow, but not intolerably slow.  The dreads were willing to build up a little extra jump fatigue at the end of the night, so just about three hours after we started to form up we were back at the keepstar with the capital ship size bee floating above it.

Capital of the Imperium

And since it was at the three hour mark, we got a second participation link.  So in one fleet I got some kills, a kill mail of my own (top damage and the final blow, so another kill mark on my Cerb), and half my participation quota for the month.  5/5 – would fleet up again.

INN has a post up about the fight, which is much more high level than this.  I only saw it after I finished up this post.  Technically the Imperium wasn’t there to third party because we were helping one side, though we effectively third partied because I think we ended up shooting everybody at some point.  I am on one Brave and five TEST kill mails.  Oops.

Addendum: This fleet is also where I first heard about Swarm Simulator, a time waster browser game my daughter called “Cookie clicker with just numbers!”