Category Archives: EVE Online

Life in Tribute

I suppose the real end of TNT in Deklein was when we finally handed over sovereignty in K5F-Z2 a couple of weeks back.

K5f-Z2HandoverThat was the end of an era, as the alliance had held that system since early December 2009, making for a five and a half year run of continuous occupancy.  I was told on a number of occasions that TNT dominion over K5F was the longest running sovereignty still current, and I could find nothing to dispute that claim.  Now that title will have to pass to another system and another alliance.  I am not sure who wins that prize, though I suspect that it might fall to Goonswarm and their holdings in the region.  Deklein has been a rock of stability for a long stretch.

But now we are coalescing down in Tribute, which has its ups and downs.

Tribute Region - July 2015

Tribute Region – July 2015

After several years of traveling to and fro in Deklein, I have found that I actually know the neighborhood fairly well.  It turns out that the seemingly random alphanumeric designations of systems in null sec isn’t any harder to get used to than the odd, and sometimes seemingly unpronounceable, system names of high and low sec.  (I’m looking at you, Uosusuokko.)  And the standard voice coms practice of designating a system by its first three letters ends up working and makes routes easy to remember over time. (Though there are any number of systems where I am not sure if they include the letter O or a zero in their designation, since everybody just says, “Oh” on coms.)

Now I have a new neighborhood to learn.  My knowledge currently stops at UMI-KK, which was the staging system for a war a some time back.  And we have new neighbors in the form of the Circle of Two alliance.  They have apparently taken a hard line with us, objecting if we stray into their systems in pursuit of hostiles.  After having free run of Deklein with Goonswarm, that is something of a change.  Then again, Circle of Two seems to be known for making friends.  If we’re out on ops and working with Pandemic Legion, they are fine cooperating with most of us, but will go out of their way to shoot anybody from Circle of Two.  So they have that going for them.

It also puts me an awkward distance away from the coalition staging system in YA0-XJ.  That used to be a few gates distant, but now it is a ways off.  I can get there via a jump bridge and some gates, but for a form-up it will most likely have to be a jump clone move to get there and not have any jump fatigue hanging over me.

I have been glad of having a carrier finally.  During the move down to Tribute and then setting myself up in a constellation in which to rat on the occasional off day when I am up for it, I have ended up doing more jumps in my Archon in the last month than I had done in the first 18 months after I bought it.

Archon... landing too far from the station...

Archon… landing too far from the station…

I have found myself a system with a station off the beaten path where a pile of Euro TZ miners seem to hang out… and they start logging off about the time I start logging in, so that I have gotten the system to myself later in the evening a few times.  I have even used that ratting fit Ishtar I built quite a while ago but only just undocked last week.  I at least got a couple of anomalies done with it before the Aegis expansion Ishtar nerf.  I’ll probably got back to my heavy missile Tengu again after that, since missiles are getting a boost.  We’ll see.

It is also somewhat strange to look at the map of Tribute and see low sec systems I recognize from my early days in EVE Online.

I started out as Caldari back in 2006 when the initial tutorial ended up sending you to Jita, which wasn’t quite the big city back then, but still felt a bit crowded.  So I packed up and moved to what I felt was a distant location… Hageken, all of six jumps from Jita… and spent quite a bit of time there before deciding to move to Amarr space.

But names I remember from way back then, like Navula, where I was blown up a couple of times, are suddenly quite close.  Hell, even Jita suddenly seems quite close.  Deklein felt like it was deep into null sec, but Tribute is a border region.  Even our staging system is a single jump freighter hop to the low sec systems favored by coalition shipping operations.  Not that the proximity seems to lower the price any.  Those that actually deliver to UMI-KK charge the same 300 ISK per m3 as a delivery to YA0-XJ, despite that requiring an extra jump.  I suspect that we are a low-volume market compared to the heart of Goonswarm, so we’re probably lucky that somebody stops by on demand.

And then there is what will come with Fozzie Sov on the 14th.  I have just been logged into the Goonswarm Jabber for updates for quite a while now, since that is where Reaver messages pop up.  But I will have to get back into TNT coms more thoroughly as well, as local defense against people testing out Entosis Links on the frontier.  We shall see how lively things get in the region once that hits, but for now it is actually fairly quiet when I have been on since the move.

Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime MMO Ennui Blues

Theoretically, this should be an exciting time for MMOs for me.

Blizzard finally gave us the WoW 6.2 patch, bringing us a new zone and opening up flying in Draenor.  Daybreak has the EverQuest time locked progression server thing running, and it is more popular than ever.  They are also warming up an EverQuest II version of the same, which could be interesting.  There is a new update dropping for EVE Online next week and then the final round of Fozzie Sov changes the following week, which should liven things up.

And yet, I am not really feeling it right now.

The 6.2 patch in WoW, far from bringing me back into the game, seemed to tip the balance the other way.  I had been in something of a garrison and pet battle holding pattern for ages, and then 6.2 hit and I stopped logging in altogether.

There was the momentary shock of the Master Plan addon breaking.  Really, doing garrison missions without that makes the whole thing such a chore that I didn’t bother trying.  And even when the addon was fixed a day later I didn’t bother.  Garrisons kept me going for a bit, but they are also my undoing in the end.  (The death of the easy-money gray trash from the salvage yard didn’t help either.)

I think, perhaps, that the two year straight run with WoW might mean it is time for a break.  Blizz has said that 6.2 is it for the expansion, so the whole game will be in something of a holding pattern until BlizzCon, at which point they will likely announce the next expansion.  We’ll see if Blizz can wait that long.  I suspect that the Q2 2015 results, which ought to be announced in August, will show another sharp decline in subscribers.

On the EverQuest side of things, I am just not feeling it.  For all the nostalgia I feel for the game, I might not be in the right state of mind for another round of bandit camping in West Karana, undead in Unrest, and whatever else.  I am glad it is going on, I am enjoying watching from the sidelines, but I just don’t log in.

I fear the same might be true for the EverQuest II nostalgia servers.  I am not entirely happy with the name choices.

Deathtoll seems just a bit too cute for the PvP server.  And, while Stormhold would have been my first choice for the PvE server had Isle of Refuge not been on the list, I am somewhat shocked that Isle of Refuge didn’t win.  It was the runaway favorite in the nominations.  I don’t want to go all Daybreak vote rigging conspiracy theory on this, but I seriously thought Isle of Refuge winning was pretty much a given.  But, Stormhold it is I guess.

Stormhold, in Antonica

Stormhold, in Antonica

There is the promise of more polls to come for the EverQuest II time locked expansion server, along with a beta promised for next week, though I have to wonder how Daybreak is feeling about polls now given the seeming “ain’t nobody happy” compromise around the Ruins of Kunark unlock vote.

And then there is EVE Online.  I suppose that EVE doesn’t really count, as boredom and finding it difficult to log in is the normal state of affairs for me with the game.  Then something will happen… a war, a deployment, a new fleet doctrine… that will lead to the moments of excitement that make the hours or boredom worthwhile.

All of which has added up to me mostly playing Minecraft every evening when I have some time.  So you can probably expect more “letters from those late to the party” posts about the game going forward.

June in Review

The Site

Well, WordPress.com finally decided to impose their new stats page on us.  I am not a fan, to say the least.  While they did fix the problem where the first three years of my stats were missing, which I complained about previously, the format leaves me cold.  They have added a few more informational tidbits to the mix:

That is 18:00 UTC, probably when Bhagpuss gets home from work

That is 18:00 UTC, probably about when Bhagpuss gets home from work

But they have removed all the summary charts that I really, really like.  Fortunately, for the time being, you can still access the previous version of the stats page at the URL:

https://wordpress.com/my-stats/

You can also find the even older version of the stats page for your WordPress.com blog if you modify this URL to add in your blog’s domain:

https:// <blog name e.g. tagn> .wordpress.com/wp-admin/index.php?page=stats

You do have to log in and have permissions for any given blog, so you cannot modify that URL to see the stats of others.

Meanwhile, WordPress.com and Automattic, its parent company, are coming up on their 10th anniversary in August of letting people in to blog for free.  It seems odd that I have been around and blogging on WordPress.com for almost 9 of those 10 years.

One Year Ago

I toasted the Newbie Blogger Initiative class of 2014.  Long may they post.

WildStar launched… and started its journey to F2P.  Still alive though.

SOE finally broke its ties with the ill-fated and ill-conceived ProSiebenSat.1 deal.

Derek Smart was telling us why to charge for beta.  Lord British was getting serious with virtual real estate.

It was summer and the short lived strategy group was looking to the Steam Summer Sale for a new game.  Meanwhile we were still playing our epic game of Civilization V.

We heard about how CCP handled/mishandled World of Darkness.

CCP launched the last of its expansions with a six month lead-time.  Kronos was the end of the line for twice yearly expansions.  I set off on the training plan to be a wing/fleet booster in EVE Online.

In Azereoth, my attempt at the Loremaster achievement had me in Darkshore and then on to Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains .

Meanwhile the Warlords of Draenor alpha was starting, so I had to avert my eyes.  So I started pondering things like how Blizzard should change the starter edition of WoW.

The instance group, heading towards its regular summer hiatus, was hitting the Mogu-shan Palace.

I took a look at a long history of gear obsession.

And I was wondering if authenticators were still a thing.

Five Years Ago

Warhammer Online, whose game tips I previously mocked, was out soliciting user written game tips with the most boring video game related video ever.  Really, I was embarrassed for them.

Meanwhile, there were comical tips to be found in another game.

CCP was telling people that the steep learning curve in EVE Online was just part of the game, and Hulkageddon III was on the way.

FrontierVille came along, evoking the whole Oregon Trail thing… for which they recently were sued.  And a good thing to, as they are a bunch of lying bastards there at Zynga.  They never sent me my FarmVille magnet.

There was the big news from Turbine with Lord of the Rings Online going Free to Play.  I wondered is Lifetime Subscribers like myself would get the shaft in this transition.  But Turbine made me a perm VIP instead and put out one of those charts that seems to accompany these multi-level subscription scams structures.  But I was winning LOTRO lotteries, so I was happy for the moment.

In Pokemon SoulSilver I had beat all the gym leaders, but we were having Pokewalker problems.

Then there was Blizzard.  Where to start?  They were to the Summer of 2010 what CCP is becoming to the Summer of 2011.

They were selling WoW Gold straight from the main page.  Really.  It just isn’t what you think.

They screwed up the parental controls interface… in my opinion… along with compromising the security of it.

The whole RealID thing was just getting warmed up.

One of the accounts in our guild was compromised and the guild bank was looted.  That has happened a couple times since and is barely news any more.

And during all this, the instance group was working its way through The Burning Crusade content with our Horde alts, but we weren’t really feeling it.

Ennui had set in and our only hope was Cataclysm.  And there were plenty of offers to get us into the beta.

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogrolls, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Fine, You Can Fly in Draenor, But Only AFTER You Hit an Arbitrary Content Threshold!
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. The Search for the Summer Game
  4. Introducing Carnyx the Magnificent
  5. Entosis Link Modules in Action in Querious
  6. Travel Advisory – Conflict in Amarr
  7. Quote of the Day – F2P Insight
  8. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  9. What Future for Turbine after Infinite Crisis?
  10. The Revenant Kill in JU-0WQ
  11. A Bit of Ancient History that Still Sticks With Me…
  12. On to 64-Bit Gaming

Search Terms of the Month

civ iii on win 7 64 bi compuer
[That isn’t the hardware info I need to help you]

aggronauts myspace
[I’m pretty sure Belghast gave up on MySpace]

is turbine developing a new mmo?
[If they are, they haven’t shared it with me]

totally free and legit courses online
[Good luck with that]

why does server emulation take so long to do
[It probably takes less time than the original]

Spam Comment of the Month

So, sum up the advantages of belonging to the pre-war, animal husbandry, which is the top 30% inhibition, can play a little more aggressive, make good use of the hammer then fear storm control, and no brain start to play shield + disperse oppressive force play. Danelaw went to the former and Wessex to the latter with each side taking half of Mercia.
* Fast Poison.

EVE Online

After the Reavers left Querious things slowed down a bit for me in New Eden.  We ran a couple of ops to Fountain to assist Brave Newbies, making us the rare exception to the “let’s go to Fountain and farm!” trend.  And there was Burn Amarr.  But the last week or so has been more about settling in and finding a home in Tribute.

EverQuest

I have probably been playing this for some definitions of “playing,” but even so I have not made much progress.  I made a few characters to claim the storage box that was given to those who joined the beta, which gave me a pile of alts to work on.  So now I have a pile of low level alts.  None of them are even level 10 yet.  It is just like 1999 again.

EverQuest II

I have been keeping an eye on EverQuest II because of the plans for their own nostalgia server.  I am interested to see how this will turn out.  I suspect it will be successful for reasons different than the EverQuest side of the house.

Minecraft

Since Father’s Day I have put in quite a few hours in the low-res world of Minecraft.  It certainly has a charm of its own, even if I am a few years late to the party.  But then, that just means that they have fixed all the bugs by now, right?

War Thunder

I have been putting in a bit of time with War Thunder over the last month.  I am still horrendously bad at it.  If I was better I might spend some money on it.  But I have a whole post on that and how the usual trend in F2P is manifesting itself in the game.

World of Warcraft

This has been in something like maintenance mode for most of the month.  I log in to tend my garrison.  I totally fail to show up for group nights.  I don’t do much else.  Then came the 6.2 patch last week.  Well, I am sure I will have a post about that.  I am just not sure what to say at this point.

Coming Up

July is the start of the summer silly season, when news dries up and we all start fixating on things like prognosticating octopi and the like.  Then we’ll head into August, the barren wasteland of new content and game launches, where memes and questionnaires will be all to sustain us as we entertain bizarro world ideas, like turning Pong into an MMO or imagining Star Citizen delivering on all its promises or taking crazy ravings on the internet seriously.  I will no doubt be digging deep into my drafts folder looking for something to write about then.

It is enough to make a body want to just take the summer off.

Still, there are a couple of things on the horizon.  Daybreak will be doing whatever it is they plan to do with EverQuest II and their nostalgia server.  There is supposed to be a beta starting as soon as the week of July 7th.

CCP has another expansion coming up on July 7th, to be followed a week later with the final transition to Fozzie Sov, at which point we’ll get to see first hand just how many loopholes and exploits there are in the plan.  I expect at least two sov holding alliances to fail cascade in simple frustration at dealing with the mechanics.  Could be interesting times, and doubly so since SniggWaffe (Pandemic Legion Junior) and some pals look like they came along and kicked J4LP out of half of Cloud Ring, so we’ll have them on our doorstep.  That should make for some excitement.

What else is coming up in July?

Postcards from Burn Amarr

Burn Amarr is over and the accounting is in.  You can find final tallies and conclusions at TMC and EN24.  As happens in all such events, everybody picks their point of view and spins the data to prove somebody won and somebody lost.  Everybody claimed they won during the first Burn Jita, why should this be any different?

I think the main difference is that the shock of the first event has passed.  The first Burn Jita was covered by the international press.  It was new and different.  My video from the undock on the first night has more than 140,000 views, putting it about 138,500 views ahead of my next most popular video.

But now, in the wake of three Burn Jita events, Burn Amarr wasn’t anything new.  There was the roleplay aspect of it, which got CVA up out of Providence to participate in the defense of the Empress Jamyl Sarum.

But taking the circus of destruction out of the big city and letting it play out in a second tier trade hub… Amarr at its peak is about the same as Jita on a very slow day… on top of it being the fourth year running, made for a less spectacular event.  Only 360 billion… or 440 billion… ISK in freighters and industrial command ships were destroyed in and around Amarr.  That is less than any of the Burn Jita events, which all exceeded 500 billion ISK.

Still, exchanging 32 billion is losses (over 11,000 individual ships, mostly in the form of the Gallente Catalyst destroyer, the backbone of the gank fleets) for even 360 billion ISK in kills is hard to paint as a “complete failure” as some have claimed.

Many Catalysts died to bring you this event

Many Catalysts died to bring you this event

So content was created, forces on both sides of the even had their moments, but there won’t be any headlines in the mainstream press about the alleged real world value of this virtual spaceship destruction.

My own participation was pretty small.  I decided that this year I was going to fly in the gank fleet a few times to see what it was like.  My security status dropped, I got on a few kills, but I saw some pretty amazing sites.  And I got a few screen shots to share.

 

Travel Advisory – Conflict in Amarr

No Burn Jita this year.  Instead the Party is in Amarr.  We will overthrow the irredeemably tainted Empress Jamyl Sarum by interdicting her capital and all that.  Hail the True Emperor of Amarr, Maximilian Singularity VI!  (Blame The Nosy Gamer.)

The Legend Returns

The Legend Returns

After a short duration joke claiming that it had been cancelled, things picked up at the end of downtime this morning.

This year I decided to sit in and see how it was done.  I managed to get on and into the fleet just in time to be part of a 6 billion ISK jump freighter gank.

Concord popping Catalysts after the kill

Concord popping Catalysts after the kill

Pretty amazing to see a mass of Catalysts undocking and warping off for a kill.

The only downside so far, which I gather from coms, is that Amarr just doesn’t have as much traffic as Jita, so targets are harder to come by.

Then I Splurged on Space Cosmetics

We had a special “home from the wars” Reavers fleet op last Saturday night.  Having enjoyed our time in Ravens down in Querious, Asher opted for another battleship doctrine, letting us vote on what we wanted to fly.  The Rokh won the straw poll and so that was what we were to bring to the fleet on Saturday after Asher got done being a guest on The Meta Show.

Of course, things started slowly and ended badly, because this is EVE Online.

We hung around in YA0-XJ getting everybody formed up and trying to get everybody a ship, but the guy who imported some Rokhs for the event was held up in real life.  So we flew around the undock attempting for form a conga line and occasionally shooting at Jay Amazingness.

Trying for a Rokh conga line...

Trying for a Rokh conga line…

We finally got things together, collected some money to cover Arrendis bringing a carrier for logistics, then flew off and died horribly in Fountain. (Horribly enough to get mentioned in that day’s null sec round up.)  At least we killed that bait cyno Rattlesnake that was sitting on the Dickstar POS in YZ-LQL.  And we didn’t have to slow boat back to Deklein.

One of the things that was kind of interesting… to me at least… was how many people grabbed SKINS for their Rokhs.  It wasn’t universal, but I would say a good quarter of the fleet was wearing either the Wiyrkomi or Nugoeihuvi skin on their ship. (You can see both skins in the conga line screen shot.)  I had used my last bit of Aurum to buy the Wiyrkomi skin before I undocked for the great “hanging about and waiting” and was gratified to see that I was not alone.

After we were done with our adventure, I jumped to my Jita clone to do some shopping, look at the market, and soak up the latest scams in local. (For the last, I see that the “first one to send me X ISK gets a Y” is now popular.)

While there I looked up the permanent Rokh Wiyrkomi SKIN and found it listed on the market for what I felt was an extremely reasonable 40 million ISK.  I wouldn’t have spent my Aurum on it if I had known I could get it for that price.

So I started looking at other skins and their prices.

  • Rokh Nugoeihuvi SKIN (Permanent) 68,000,000 ISK

More expensive, but also more distinctive.  I like the olive drab with white highlights Wiyrkomi pattern, especially on the Raven.  It feels more “military” for whatever definition, but it doesn’t show up as well as the Nugoeihuvi stripes.  So I bought that.  I have another Rokh hull around here somewhere, so I might use it some day.

  • Merlin Wiyrkomi SKIN (Permanent) 48,000,000 ISK

Sure, why not.  I might fly a Merlin again some day.

I then looked at the Kador skin for the Archon, but that was over a billion ISK at the moment.  I like it, the Kador skin blue looks pretty good and stands out, but I don’t like it a billion ISK worth.  But other Kador skins…

  • Punisher Kador SKIN (Permanent) 21,999,998.98 ISK

Hah!  I have a Punisher sitting in Amarr space that I go run level 2 missions with when I am bored.  Now it will be Kador blue.

Kador Punisher

Kador Punisher

What other blue ships could I get?

  • Abaddon Kador SKIN (Permanent) 44,999,987.56 ISK

I actually wanted the Apocalypse or Armageddon Kador skins, but those were pricey.  The Abaddon skin, on the other hand, was relatively cheap.  Yeah, I don’t own and Abaddon.  In fact, I have never owned one.  But now if I do, it will be blue.

  • Maelstrom Nefantar SKIN (Permanent) 52,989,999.85 ISK

Well, at least I own a Maelstrom still.

  • Heron Sukuuvestaa SKIN (Permanent) 2,800,000 ISK

For that price, I bought it on the off chance I might fly a Heron again some day.

  • Comet Police Pursuit SKIN (Permanent) 19,999,999.98 ISK

This was cheap because so many people wanted the Police Pursuit Comet under the old customization scheme, and each of those ships translated into a permanent skin.  Might as well own that too.  At this point I began to suspect I was just buy stuff to collect rather than use.  I decided to take a breath and calm down a bit.  And then I saw…

  • Dominix Quafe SKIN (Permanent) 883,748,000 ISK

Almost a billion ISK?  But it is a limited edition… can’t buy it with Aurum… and it is a current doctrine ship… and I already have the Megathron version… and it looks good.

A Quafe skinned Domi!

A Quafe skinned Domi stands out

It was spendy, but I decided I had to have it.  And, of course, once I had a couple of the Quafe skins, I figured I might as well complete the collection.

  • Tristan Quafe SKIN (Permanent) 67,925,000 ISK
  • Catalyst Quafe SKIN (Permanent) 290,000,000.07 ISK
  • Vexor Quafe SKIN (Permanent) 223,999,999.97 ISK

The Tristan wasn’t too bad, but I had to think a bit before I went with the Catalyst and Vexor versions.  The Vexor is a Reaver doctrine ship, so I will likely use it.

Asher hitting an SBU up close and personal in his Vexor

A Reaver Quafe Vexor in action

Meanwhile the Catalyst skin might be nice to have if, say, there was going to be some sort of Burn Amarr event this weekend.  And that gets me all the Quafe ships that I can fly.  The Obelisk, Thanatos, and Nyx Quafe skins wouldn’t do me much good. (Also, while they add a nice blue color to the ships, I think they should all have much larger versions of the Quafe logo on them.  If I were to fly a giant Quafe skinned ship, I would want to go for maximum billboard value!  But I think may only the Megathron version has the logo close to big enough for me… and it could still be bigger in my opinion!)

At that point I realized I had spent 1.7 billion ISK on cosmetic items and decided that was enough for the day.  Now I will have to go tally up my skins… I ended up getting a half dozen due to special ships when the Mosaic expansion hit… and see what options I really have.

Of course, what I really want is some skins for tech II logi ships, which tends to be my usual position in fleets these days.

Departures from Querious for Points North

With the fall of our foothold in Querious at ED-L9T, I was left in a bit of a bind.

When we lost the shield timer a couple days before that, I took a bit of time and moved out some of the excess items I had stored there, lest they end up locked in a hostile station. My plan was to be able to move everything left out with the chances I could create if we lost the station.

And, of course, we lost the station.  So it was time to assess how to move out.

If it hadn’t been past midnight after a long day at the office and a full Saturday of outdoor activity waiting in the morning, I would have used the brief window we had left after the fight on Friday night to make a couple of round trips and I would have been done.  But I opted for bed and not being completely wiped out the next day.

The bind was that, as I left things, I had to take care of the trapped asset problem before I could really do anything else in EVE Online.  My alt was okay, docked in the station in ED-L9T with only a single ship.  He could jump clone out and come back later.  But my main, also docked up in the station after the fight, had two ships to move.

Well, three actually, but one was a disposable, cheap-fit Vexor that was destined to die as an AFK structure shoot ship anyway.  I could forget about that one.

Cheap Laser Vexor

Cheap Laser Vexor

But with a jump clone installed and there in the station, I had two outbound runs available and two ships to move out.  I couldn’t jump clone off and do something else without leaving behind a ship.  So I was determined to get both ships out, stuck until I got one out, and impatient.

Saturday evening, past the usual European prime time, I logged in my main and my alt to just see how things look.  I saw a dozen people in local, but ten were docked up with me in the station.  Feeling like the moment might be right, I decided to go for it with my alt.  I just had to go a couple of jumps and I would be safe.  It was just a question of which route to take.  There happened to be three possibilities.

The first was the straight route.

ED9LTAreaDirectRouteJust take a gate to 3-FKCZ and then on to Efa and the bubble-free joy that is low sec.

Of course, that was also the most likely route to be camped.  People are lazy or think they can just slip through, so why not just go for it?  I have been tripped up by that thinking many times myself.

At the opposite end of the spectrum was the long way to safety.

ED9LTAreaBadRouteHead to LS-V29, then to I1Y-IU, then into 3-FKCZ, and finally into Efa.  That would certainly be the least expected route.  However it also meant going through the staging system the hostiles were using, I1Y-IU and would maximize the amount of time exposed to risk or bumping into the wrong people.

In the middle was the middle route.

ED9LTAreaIndirectRouteGoing via 9SBB-9 would avoid the direct route and the most likely gate camp or drag bubbles that would no doubt be on the direct route.  That was clearly the one to choose.

(And yes, these little diagrams seemed like a good idea at the time.)

So I undocked my alt in his Ishtar.  I found myself in a mobile warp bubble anchored just off the undock.  However, nobody was minding the store.  I aligned to the 9SBB-9 gate, lit the MWD, and motored out of the bubble.  Then it was a quick warp to the gate, which proved to be clear, then a warp across 9SBB-9, which proved to be clear, then that one last cross-system warp to the Efa gate, which proved to be unobstructed.  My alt was in Efa and moved on the Badivefi without any further worry.

That was easy!

I decided not to push my luck immediately though.  I logged off my alt, lest anybody who might have been cloaked or otherwise keeping an eye on this notice that there was a breakout attempt going on, but left my main logged in.  Let them get used to just seeing me idle in local… nothing going on, no undock planned… while I watched some TV.

I came back a couple hours later and compared local with those docked up.  There were half a dozen hostiles out in the system.  That did not bode well.  I left myself logged in… let them camp me while I am AFK… and went off to get ready for bed.

A while later I was wandering up the hall after having given my daughter a push in the direction of bed when I decided to peek in on the game.  There were only three hostiles in space in ED-L9T.  It might be time.

But which ship to take?

The Basilisk was faster, but was fit to work in a group of like ships chaining capacitor between them.  Alone it would run out of cap just leaving the MWD on.  Then there was the Raven; large, awkward, and slow, but cap stable and fitted with a Microjump Drive.  That is still a new module to me, but seemed like it might come in hand for this sort of venture.  So I decided that the Raven would be the one to try to sneak out.

I left the station and found the undock still bubbled, but otherwise clear.  I aligned to the 9SBB-9 gate and triggered the MJD.  It spun up and then launched me 100km ahead, well clear of the bubble.  From there I warped directly to the gate.

And found myself in trouble.

There was a Malediction sitting on the gate.  This little Amarr interceptor immediately locked me up and pointed me.  I wouldn’t get away in system.  As that was happening, another ship landed on the gate, a Stratios.  The Stratios locked me up but did not engage me, knowing that to do so would put him on a one minute aggression timer.  He wouldn’t be able to jump through the gate with me if that happened and I would likely get away.

So there we sat, the Stratios waiting, the Malediction keeping me from warping off and plinking away at me.  I regretted using the MJD to get out of the bubble, though they might have scanned me down and warped to me if I had tried to slow boat out of it.  The re-use timer on the MJD seemed very long as I sat there.  But as it wound down I decided to jump through.

On the other side of the gate the Stratios appeared.  I held my cloak until it faded on its own then, even as I was aligning towards the 3-FKCZ gate, he locked my up and pointed me.  I wouldn’t be warping off, but I remembered that MJDs are immune to warp disruption and the cool down timer was just about up.

As I started to activate the MJD a Loki came through the gate and uncloaked along with the Malediction.  Now I had some real trouble on hand.  I could tank the Stratios and the Malediction for a long time, but the Loki could likely burn me down faster than the MJD would recycle again.

Then the MJD went off and I was 100km away.  A second or two later the warp disruption effect faded and I was able to warp off to the far gate.  I landed at zero and sat there.  The Stratios locked me up again and this time he began banging away at my shields, thus triggering his aggression timer.  The Malediction just sat there, as did the Loki, waiting for me to jump through.  My shields were slowly being eroded, but I had time.  I waited for the MJD to get close to the end of its cool down.  I jumped through into 3-FKCZ and immediately aligned for the Efa gate.  The Malediction was through the gate as well and on me with its warp disruption module.  Then I triggered the MJD and jumped that 100km and was able to enter warp before the Malediction was able to cover 30km in its attempt to catch me on grid.

The Malediction followed me to the Efa gate, but the Loki and the Stratios apparently gave up the chase.   They must have decided they didn’t have enough to force my hand on either side of a gate.  So I was into Efa and then on to Badivefi.

The Raven runs free

The Raven runs free

I was particularly proud of not dying, even if my escape ruse wasn’t all that clever.  And, once again, I proved that I am much more likely to survive any hostile encounter if I don’t bother shooting at anybody.

And now the pressure was off.  I still had my Basilisk to retrieve, but I could do that at some distant date if I so desired.  I logged off and went to bed.

The next afternoon I was online but tinkering with other things when a ping came in on Jabber announcing a Reavers fleet.  I suspected it might be a break-out fleet so, when the appointed time came, I logged in and got on coms to see what the plan might be.

It was indeed going to be a break-out fleet.  However, the break-out was going to take a while as we all logged in and got into the station in ED-L9T.  There was much discussion of who had space to carry what out and what was worth carrying.  I had already made my plan and only had some cheap ammo, some tech I armor and hull repair drones, and that throw away Vexor I mentioned.  I put the cheap stuff up on the market and put the Vexor up on contract for 11 million ISK, which is what I paid for it, and waited for things to get sorted out.

Of course, a bunch of us all showing up in local and docked up in the station was a bit of a give away.  Hostiles started showing up and by the time we were ready to go our cloaked eyes on the station said that they had formed a merry little kitchen sink camp.

For reasons that escape me we decided to push Ohno no Borrox out of the station first in his Arazu on the theory that once everybody started locking him up the logi could undock and save him.  That didn’t quite work out.  By the time we got undocked and started locking him up, he was already in his pod.

But then everybody in a combat ship undocked, the logi anchored up and got the cap chain running, and we killed or drove off the hostiles on the undock and then blew up their mobile warp disruption bubble.  I even managed to drop a combat drone and got on one of the kills.

The station grid clear, the haulers undocked to join us and we all aligned for 3-FKCZ to take the most direct route out of Dodge.

As we were aligning out and about to warp, a Vexor undocked and took some shots at us and was promptly blown up for his effort.  At least I assume it was. The kill mail never made it to the kill board, but Asher commented that the fit looked like the AFK Vexor fit we had been using at one point during the war.

When he said that I immediately checked my contracts window and found that one of the pilots that was camping the undock, and who lost his ship, had docked up and bought the Vexor in order to take another run at us.

Contract complete

Contract complete!

That was my money back on that ship.  And then we were off to Badivefi.

A ragtag fleet heads for home

A ragtag fleet heads for home

Once back in high sec there was a short side task to take care of, after which everybody formed up to take a wormhole back north to the home regions of The Imperium.  I skipped that trip home.  It was time for dinner and I wasn’t in any hurry to move my ships back north.  The last time I put in the effort to get all my ships home from a Reaver deployment to Querious, we were right back in the same spot just a month or two later.

So that was that. the end of our deployment to Querious.  We started heading down south with the main fleet back in the middle of March and now we’ve returned home long after the main fleet has retired.  And on our departure I cannot help but have a specific mental image of what we have left behind after our deployment.

Darkness basking in their victory

Darkness basking in their victory

We had no real business taking that system, but we certainly made the locals pay to get it back.

Now for some quiet time after an exciting campaign while we wait for Fozzie Sov to hit.

Addendum: Arrendis has a post summarizing our time in the south over at TMC if you want a wider view that I can provide, and includes an interview with Sort Dragon of Darkness.

There is also a summary of the war up on EN24 as well.